Toyota will start assembling hybrid Camrys in Australia in 2010 and plans to be manufacturing 10,000 of them per year. This would make Australia just the fourth country in the world to be mass-producing petrol-hybrid cars.
“We decided to build the Camry hybrid in Australia because Australians are keenly aware of environmental issues including global warming,” said Toyota President, Katsuaki Watanabe, at a conference in Nagoya. Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, who was also at the conference, said that Toyota would get $35 million in grants from the $500 million Green Car Innovation Fun towards the project.
The car will be assembled at Toyota’s Altona factory in Melbourne which currently builds about 150,000 cars a year – two-thirds of them for export to the Middle East.
Based on US pricing, the hybrid Camry is likely to cost about $32,500 in Australia – and a buyer would have to drive about 60,000 kilometres to recover the additional cost compared to the petrol version at current petrol prices.
In a separate announcement, Toyota has said that it has developed a fuel-cell hybrid similar to the petrol hybrid Prius. The fuel-cell version can travel 800 kilometres on a single refueling, uses no fossil fuels and emits no carbon dioxide. It will be demonstrated at the upcoming G8 conference in Hokkaido next month.