Toyota has lifted the roof off the Detroit show, with company chief Akio Toyoda unveiling two new Camrys to a packed house.
Not only is the top selling mid-size sedan an important car for the Americans, it’s also the first look at the car that will replace the Melbourne-built version at the end of 2017.
The Camry was revealed in two distinct guises, with a more sporting version taking cues from sister brand Lexus. Even the more conservative version represents a big swing away from the traditionally staid form of the company’s best selling sedan.
“You could call them ‘sexy’… and ‘sexier,” said Mr Toyoda, adding that the Camry could serve to reinvorgarate the softening mid-size sedan sector. “Why should SUVs have all the glory?” he asked.
The upmarket feel extends to the interiors of the two models, with a classy flat glass panel dominating the centre console, while large heads-ups displays and digital dashes are likely to be fitted to higher spec models.
Toyota Australia officials acknowledge that the new car will not sell as strongly as the current car.
Seat materials and shapes on upper models could also be mistaken for something that might be seen in a Lexus showroom, including a radical red lether interior treatment for a limited-run dual-tone sports version, complete with 19-inch rims and quad exhausts.
Three engine variants were announced for the US market, including a new 3.5-litre V6, a new 2.5-litre four-cylinder and a second-generation hybrid drivetrain. While no specs or prices were confirmed for Australia, Toyota Australia officials suggested that local cars will continue to use the current 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, while the new V6 – backed by a new eight-speed auto - and the updated hybrid are confirmed starters.
A pre-collision safety system that incorporates automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, radar cruise control and pedestrian detection will be offered as standard across the Australian range.
The Camry is built on Toyota’s TNGA (Toyota New Generation Architecture) platform, with independent rear suspension and a higher level of stiffness throughout.
US cars will be built in Kentucky, while Australian versions will come from Japan.
Toyota Australia officials, in the US to see the Camry for the first time in the metal, acknowledge that the new car will not sell as strongly as the current car when it arrives at the end of 2017.
The locally built car currently enjoys preferential status with a number of large fleet customers, which will no longer apply once the new car takes over.
Toyota Australia sales director Tony Cramb could not confirm when the local car would stop production, but indicated that it would be towards the end of 2017. Likewise, he would not confirm when the new car would go on sale, nor what spec levels would be offered.