The Toyota Camry has been the top-selling vehicle in America for eight of the last nine years. This year, the 2007 version was unveiled with a hybrid option. The hybrid system bumps mileage from 24/34 mpg to 40/38 mpg but the price stays reasonable at base price of $26,000.
While Honda's newest hybrid model, the Accord hybrid, uses it's hybrid drive train more to boost performance, Toyota is betting that Camry consumers will be more interested in efficiency. Hopefully, they're right. This 60% increase in city driving efficiency today brought Toyota one of the highest honors of environmental automobiles, Green Car Journal's Green Car of the Year award.This new Camry increases efficiency in more ways than one. The car uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and has been redesigned to decrease aerodynamic drag. The hybrid system is basically the same as that of the Prius, but they've brought it to an already extremely popular model and it will help Toyota realize it's goal of selling 300,000 hybrid vehicles in 2007.
The Toyota executive accepting the award dedicated it to Dave Hermance, Toyota's lead environmental engineer, who died last week in a plane accident.
The General Motors Company made Hank's trip to LA possible by providing travel and accommodations. Hank is not required to blog about GM products. The only GM requirement as a condition of underwriting these expenses was to include this disclosure of this relationship, which, of course, he'd do anyway.