Toyota Australia has reduced the cost of its fifth-generation Camry by an impressive $A2500 per vehicle, writes Mike Duffy. The car giant has passed on the savings to customers in the form of additional standard equipment as a lure to re-claim the No 1 spot from GM-affiliate Holden.

All Camrys are now fitted with air-conditioning as a standard feature along with dual front airbags, four wheel disc brakes, remote central locking and CD player. All V6 Camrys come with anti-lock brakes.

Camry’s brakes, seats, headlights, electronics, security system, suspension and sports model body kit have been developed in Australia. Toyota Australia has invested $A350 million to develop the brand’s world car.

This includes a modular platform with interchangeable subframes to allow Camry and Avalon to be built on the same assembly line. Toyota has tailored its own suspension to match local road conditions and driving styles.

Toyota has achieved its dramatic cost savings by lifting local content from 66 percent to 77 per cent. The company now spends $A1 billion a year with local component manufacturers.

The new outsourced components replace parts formerly brought in from Japan – to make the company less dependent on dollar-yen exchange rates.

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Savings from the localisation program have allowed the company to boost equipment by a claimed 10 per cent while cutting the prices of two key models in the Camry line-up by between $A800 and $A1285 – after taking into account specification adjustments.

The new Camry range is made up of eleven models, with a choice of two multi-valve engines, a 2.4-litre four with variable valve timing and a carry-over three litre V6, manual and automatic transmissions and four equipment grades.

Camry will be followed into the marketplace next week by the VY Holden Commodore and the BA Ford Falcon the following week.