To celebrate the beginning of the series production, Toyota Australia has whipped the covers off the locally built Camry Hybrid.
No doubt timed to coincide with the climate change talks taking place in Copenhagen, Toyota Australia has begun local production of the Camry Hybrid. Sales begin in February 2010.
Stylistically, the Camry Hybrid differs from its non-hybrid cousins via a new set of bumpers, grilles and spoilers, blue-tinged headlights and clear tail-light lenses.
A specially tuned version of the Camry's 2.4-litre engine (in silver) lives beside an electric motor that generates 30kW. Together they provide the car with 140kW of power — a fair whack more than 117kW found in the petrol-only Camry. This photo is of a Thai-built Camry Hybrid.
The Camry Hybrid's nickel metal hydride battery pack lives between the rear seats and the boot, reducing boot space and taking away the ability to fold the rear seats down.
Where a tachometer would normally sit is a consumption gauge informing drivers of how much dino juice they're swilling or, when coasting or braking, how much they're recharging the car's batteries.
According to Toyota Australia, the Camry Hybrid will produce less than 150 grams of CO2 per kilometre. Doing the maths, this means that fuel consumption should be less than 6.47L/100km. In the US, the Camry Hybrid has a consumption rating of 34mpg or 6.9L/100km.
Toyota Australia has yet to release official pictures of the Camry Hybrid's interior, but we don't expect that it will look much different to this US-spec model — with the steering wheel in the right place, of course.
The company is planning to produce 10,000 Camry Hybrids locally per year, with a further 300 being built for export to New Zealand. Putting that in perspective, in 2008 Toyota Australia sold just shy of 43,000 Camry and Aurion V6 models in Australia.
Much of the local engineering effort centred on tuning suspension and handling to local tastes, as well as ensuring that the hybrid components were up to the task of handling our harsh climate.
In addition to Australia, Toyota produces Camry Hybrids in Japan, the USA and Thailand. Despite being produced locally, most of the Camry Hybrid's unique components, such as the batteries and electric motor, are shipped in from Japan.
Toyota has yet to announce local specification and pricing, although the smart money is on a price premium of between AU$3000 and AU$4000 over a similarly specced Camry.
When the current generation Camry was launched in the States in 2006, a hybrid version soon followed. This photo is of the 2010 model year Camry Hybrid sold in the US.
For the 2009 Melbourne Motor Show, Toyota Australia rolled out a Camry Hybrid concept vehicle dubbed HC-CV. Needless to say that few, if any, of that car's styling traits have been carried forward to the production version.
The Camry Hybrid built in Thailand looks quite different to ours, as their Camry is styled like our Aurion V6.