Australia May Get Locally Built Hybrids in 2010 ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Australia May Get Locally Built Hybrids in 2010

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Australia May Get Locally Built Hybrids in 2010

Toyota may be planning on building the hybrid Camry in Australia starting in 2010 according to a Reuters report. The most likely site is the Alton factory in Victoria, where the Camry is already being produced.

More details may become available when Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd meets with Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe on Tuesday.

Thailand may expand its Camry production with the hybrid version. Early reports say each plant will start producing 10,00 a year.

The new Camry Hybrid would be sold in Australia, thus avoiding the import duty. Although the import duty is scheduled to be halved in 2010. Australia has had limited success in getting hybrids sold.

Two-thirds of the vehicles built at the Altona plant were exported to the middle east.

Update (June 10, 2008): Toyota confirmed they will aim for 10,000 units a year by 2010. Australia is offering Toyota A$35 million ($33 million) in grant money to begin production according to Prime Minister Rudd.

Rudd made the announcement at a press conference in Japan on Tuesday.

The A$35 million will come out of the A$500 million green car innovation fund. That works out to A$700 a car if production numbers are met over the next five years.

Rudd pointed out the investment would be good for Australian motorists and the environment, saying there was nothing wrong with commonwealth funding for research and development (R&D). Rudd estimated the hybrid owner would save $1000 annually when driving 20,000 km a year.

Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe said the grant will be used to cut the price of the hybrid so that it will be comparable to the conventional Camry.

"... we are making every effort to reduce cost ... (and) the green (car) innovation fund may also be taken into account in that context."

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