The $A350 million project to build the redesigned Camry in Australia will include a locally developed platform, security, suspension and seats.

The new car is due on sale in the third quarter of this year and local engineers at Toyota’s Port Melbourne headquarters have been working on the project for the last two years.

The new model has higher levels of local input, expertise and content than on any previous Australian-manufactured Camry.

Toyota Australia has also upgraded its Altona plant with new technology including equipment to cast the Camry four-cylinder block
The Australian-built Camry will be different to the models built in Japan and the United States due to a unique modular platform which offers increased body strength and torsional rigidity.

The company is claiming a higher standard of crash worthiness and a more stable mounting for the suspension.

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The model will also have a unique, extra-strength body developed in Australia and Japan to cope with the dusty, non-tarmac roads often encountered in country areas of both Australia and New Zealand and tough conditions in the Middle East export markets where Toyota Australia ships left-hand drive models.

Toyota has re-engineered the Camry upper body to mate with the new modular platform and local subframes.

Every mating panel in the upper body has been redesigned to suit the local underbody.

The Australian Camry will also have a unique engine bay with unique and stronger spring towers, apron area and radiator upper support compared with overseas built models.

Ninety five percent of the body panels will be pressed locally, including all-new one-piece side members to improve panel fit and body integrity.

The new body also includes sound-absorbing ‘sandwich’ panels – 4mm thick asphalt sheet between two layers of steel – in the dash panel, cowl, floor and rear wheel arches.

Toyota has installed new presses in the Altona press shop to make one-piece side members for new generation Camry.

All exterior panels except the roof panel will be pressed from zinc-coated steel for maximum corrosion protection.

Using the unique platform as a base, local engineers have developed suspension calibrations tailored to Australian and New Zealand driving tastes and needs.

Australian engineers asked Toyota New Zealand consultant and former Ferrari Formula One driver Chris Amon to test the prototype.

In the early 1980s, Amon transformed the handling of NZ-assembled Corollas and Coronas by identifying the best combinations of Japanese damper, bush and stabiliser bar settings with locally-made springs and tyres.

He helped develop all of Toyota’s NZ-built products until assembly in the country ceased in the late 1990s and was also involved in developing suspension settings for Australian-built Camrys shipped across the Tasman from 1993.

Amon was reportedly so impressed with the result for the new Camry that he’s requested the same suspension calibration for New Zealand.

Toyota says its Australian suspension engineers have given the new model a “highly sophisticated” balance of ride and handling.

Matched to the new suspension calibration is a new power steering pump, which provides more precise cornering feel and an improved balance of parking and driving effort.

The Australian Camry will also have their own seat designs. Sporty and luxury grade models will have a unique locally designed sports seat, with larger bolsters for improved holding characteristics.

A new, locally developed keyless entry system electronically creates rolling codes – a different code every time the car is unlocked. The system has 74 million, million, million codes.

Other electronic developments for the latest Australian Camry include – for the first time – satellite navigation availability. The system is Toyota’s unique DVD-based touch-screen system.