Australia Gives Toyota $35 million to Build Hybrid Camry


Australia Gives Toyota $35 Million to Build Hybrid in Melbourne.

Last week, whilst in Japan, the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, announced the Federal government would provide Toyota with $35 million AUD, to assist them in bring production of their hybrid petrol-electric cars to the state of Victoria.

The Camry uses the same technology as the much lauded Prius but is a bit larger and heavier. It has been suggested that a hybrid four cylinder Camry can save 40-50% in the fuel use over the standard model for a 14% higher purchase price. (5.7 litres of fuel per 100km, instead of 9.9 litres.)This will encourage many Australian drivers who are currently reeling under prices of $1.65 per litre for unleaded fuel. And who knows how high the pump price will be when Toyota rolls out a projected 10,000 of the hybrid Camrys in 2010?

Governments Shopping for Hybrids

One possible buyer will the federal government themselves, as they are trialling three Prius’ at the moment, with the intention of moving the whole 4,000+ vehicle fleet to a fuel efficient alternatives for the current six cylinder gas guzzler.

[In a similar vein, the NSW state government has asked local car manufacturer, Holden, (a division of General Motors) to make them a hybrid. But with nothing much on the drawing board—Holden having been focused on six and eight cylinder engines of late—NSW might be waiting awhile.]

Though it may be that the Toyota deal will inspire other local car makers, Holden, Ford, etc, to lift their game, so they too can put their hand out for assistance from the Federal Government’s $500 million green car program. After all the Prime Minister did say, "When all is said and done, we don't just want a green car, we want a green car industry."

Car Torque

And while the $35m leg-up for Toyota has generally been well received, the announcement hasn’t been all sweetness and light. Others argue that such moves deflect attention from public transport systems, which are more in need of a fiscal makeover and an behavioural change campaign.

But it has certainly got tongues wagging and people thinking about their personal transport options. And if nothing else that, at least, is a positive sign.

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PS. We've been reporting on the Hybrid Camry for the past four years. Check out our Green Basics guide for more info on what makes a hybrid worth considering.

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