AUSTRALIA: Toyota Camry Hybrid production starts
After the usual long build-up - anouncement of additional model, announcement of final testing, announcement of start of pre-production - Toyota Australia has finally unveiled the production Camry Hybrid, billed as the country's most fuel-efficient locally built car, at an event at its Altona manufacturing plant in Melbourne, Victoria state.
The petrol-electric hybrid is now made in Japan, the US, Thailand and Australia.
Toyota Australia plans to build 10,000 vehicles a year for its domestic market and ship 300 to neighbouring New Zealand - the key RHD export market for its petrol models. It also ships LHD versions to the Middle East.
Hybrid Camry sales start in February 2010 when yet another announcement will be made about pricing and specifications.
The Australian version has combined power of around 140kW from its 2.4-litre petrol engine and electric drive motor and emits under 150g/km of CO2.
Toyota expects official data to show the news model uses at least 35% less fuel than its locally built six-cylinder competitors.
Toyota Australia president and CEO, Max Yasuda, told a crown of officials and the automakers' workers that the Camry hybrid was one of the most significant developments in 50-year history in Australia, adding it had the potential to change the local automotive landscape and provide motorists with an affordable, environmentally responsible vehicle.
"We want to build a sustainable industry that provides innovative and attractive vehicles for our customers and a technology and manufacturing base that attracts on-going investment. We will have the unique advantage in our market of producing and selling a four-cylinder hybrid family car. It will enable every household across the country to have the opportunity of having a locally built hybrid in their driveway."
"Both the Federal and Victorian governments have demonstrated their strong desire for the local industry to build vehicles that help meet the challenges of climate change and a carbon-constrained future. The support of Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan was a great vote of confidence in the ability of our company. It has enabled us to respond to the needs of Australian motorists by introducing fuel-saving and environmentally conscious technology as a mainstream option," Yasuda added.