TOYOTA has slashed up to $5000 off its heavily revised new Toyota Camry in an effort to maintain or boost sales as local production winds down by 2017.
The move takes Toyota Camry pricing back to that of the Camry sold almost two decades ago, in 1997.
“Australia’s favourite mid-sized car is now even better,” said Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Tony Cramb in announcing the heavily revised pricing. “We’ve injected Camry with greater emotional appeal … and freshened the interior.”
The move is in an effort to increase Toyota Camry’s dominant share of the mid-sized market, currently at 44.5 percent – but planned to go higher.
However the headline price reduction is in many ways debatable because it’s only off the “list price”, which excludes on-road costs such as stamp duty and registration.
The Toyota Camry has for years been selling for big discounts, often in excess of $5000.
Also, most Toyota Camrys – about 65 percent – have been sold to fleets, which gain significant discounts.
Cramb concedes maintaining share in the struggling medium car segment is not enough to produce the 90,000 cars annually required to ensure the viability of the soon-to-close Altona manufacturing facility.
“We’ve totally redefined the concept of value in the medium segment,” said Cramb. “For the metal, it’s the best value car you can buy today.”
Cramb said appealing to younger buyers – those aged 35 to 50-years-old – was crucial to the success of the Toyota Camry.
“We are now attracting more buyers under 50 than over 50,” he said, convinced the new Atara SX model – with firmer suspension and 18-inch wheels – would improve that percentage.
Cramb also said there would be another minor update to the Camry in 2016.
“We’ll have some further updates in about a year’s time.”
And, of course, there are imported Camrys from 2018 onwards.
“It’s certainly not the last Camry. Camry will continue for many years to come,” Cramb said.
The just released new Toyota Camry is available in four model grades – Altise, Atara S, Atara SX and Atara SL.
The Altise gets 16-inch wheels and sells for $26,490 (plus on-road costs), a 6.1-inch colour touchscreen, voice recognition and a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine with six-speed auto. It makes 133kW and has single exhaust outlet.
The Atara S ($29,490) gets 17-inch wheels, Toyota Link with Pandora app functionality and a powered driver’s seat. It also gets a unique black lower grille with honeycomb mesh and a dual exhaust system that ups power slightly to 135kW.
The Atara SL ($37,440) gets leather, a dark wood finish, beefier JBL audio, sat-nav, digital radio, rain-sensing wipers, rear blind, powered passenger seat, auto emergency braking and active cruise control.
The Atara SX ($31,990) gets 18-inch black wheels, sports suspension, smoked chrome grille bar, leather seats with deep red for the bolsters, a rear spoiler and unique mesh-look finish inside
The Hybrid drivetrain adds $4000 to the Altise, $3000 for the Atara S and $3000 for the Atara SL.
The hybrid is not available in the sporty, new-to-the-range Atara SX range.