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Camry cuts fuel consumption

GM Holden is less than two months from an economy-based update of its VE Commodore, Ford is promising a four-cylinder Falcon and more in 2010, and Toyota has just slashed the consumption of its family focussed Camry.

The four-cylinder Toyota now tips the bowsers at an official rating of 8.8L/100km, trumping the best Commodore at 10.6 and the most efficient of the Falcons, the six-speed automatic XT build after April, at 9.9.

But Holden is promising a double-digit improvement to its economy when the updated VE hits the road, probably in early September, while Toyota will only hold the line at 9.9 when it does a similar update job to the Camry on its V6 Aurion in September.

"Fuel economy is an important issue for consumers. It's important that we remain competitive," says Toyota's head of sales and marketing, Dave Buttner. "There is no denying there have been improvements by some of our competitors. We are focussed on our customer's needs."

That focus is reflected in a facelift which gives the Camry a slight visual lift and a significant value hike.

Toyota says all models now come with six airbags and Bluetooth phone connection, while the Ateva and Grande get a rear parking camera. The Grande also keyless entry and starting, reversing sonar and an upgraded sound system.

The bottom line is also sharper, with a $1200 price cut on the Atevo and Sportivo.

"We've got improve value. So we're excited about the facelift," Buttner says.

Camry sales are averaging around 1500 a month, down from previous years, but Buttner says the car is still holding its share of the medium class and he expects a significant boost through the back end of the year.