Automobiles

Hybrid models more than a quarter of Camry sales

The locally built car is growing in popularity, but it may be at the cost to its hybrid stablemate, the Toyota Prius.

The two hybrid versions of its popular Camry range that Toyota launched in Australia last February accounted for almost 28 per cent of all Camry sales in 2010.

The AU$36,990 Toyota Camry Hybrid and the pricier luxury version accounted for roughly 7000 of the overall 25,014 Camrys sold in Australia in 2010, Toyota announced today.

Toyota sold an average of 750 hybrid Camrys per month in Australia in 2010. (Credit: Toyota)

While the Camry holds its comfortable 40.2 per cent market share position as the top mid-size car in Australia, the hybrid model could be crippling sales of the dearer Toyota Prius, which dropped by 52 per cent last year.

Both the hybrid and petrol versions of the Camry are manufactured locally at Altona in Melbourne. The car is popular in Australia, however the bulk of the production is exported to the Middle East. Toyota Australia claims to have shipped its 500,000 vehicle to Saudi Arabia last October.

While the hybrids are contributing to the Camry's sales growth, David Buttner, senior executive director Sales and Marketing for Toyota Australia, says it was challenging being the "lone voice" in the hybrid market and that he would welcome competitors launching models with new technologies to improve fuel-efficiency which would help to grow the market in Australia overall.

Buttner announced that the next-generation model Camry would arrive later this year, but the next hybrid version isn't slotted to appear until 2012.

Hybrids are very much a focus for the car manufacturer's future, however. Locally, Toyota Australia is participating in five plug-in hybrid trials, but Buttner was non-committal on whether any would go into eventual production.