Hybrid Camry out next month:

Discussion in 'Toyota' started by tigerhonaker, Apr 25, 2006.

  1. tigerhonaker

    tigerhonaker Platinum Contributor

    The Gazette

    Hybrid Camry out next month:

    Important test for technology; Sedan's success will help determine future for gasoline/electric blends:

    Chris Vander Doelen, CanWest News Service
    Published: Monday, April 24, 2006

    DETROIT - The world's biggest experiment in bringing a hybrid family car to market starts in a few weeks, and nobody is more curious about the outcome than Toyota - even though it's their car.

    Next month, a hybrid version of the Toyota Camry reaches showrooms in Canada and the United States. As North America's top selling sedan, the introduction puts the ball firmly in the court of a public which keeps telling pollsters they want green vehicles.

    Until now, the only hybrids on the market have been niche products such as the Toyota Prius, compacts such as the Honda Civic and pricey performance models such as the Honda Accord and one hybrid Lexus sport utility vehicle.

    David Hermance, executive engineer of advanced vehicles at Toyota Technical Centre USA Inc., said the parent company is confident the hybrid Camry will be a success, but is as curious as the rest of the industry as to its public reception.

    "It will be interesting to see how the public responds to this model," Hermance told an audience of about 1,000 engineers at the Society of Automotive Engineers' World conference.

    "This is our attempt to go more mainstream. It's part of our continuing test of 'What does the market want?' "

    The automotive world will be closely watching public reaction to the hybrid Camry because the gasoline version of the car is the bestselling car in the United States, moving 432,000 units last year. It was the second bestselling mid-sized car in Canada, selling 18,861 last year.

    If the hybrid Camry flops, prospects for the rest of the industry's hybrid attempts will be downgraded by analysts. For the record, Hermance said Toyota expects the hybrid Camry will sell in "fairly significant volume."

    As of the end of 2005, consumers worldwide had purchased 550,000 hybrid vehicles, he said. Slightly under half (270,000) were purchased in the United States. The Japanese bought most of the rest. Europeans, so far, are shunning gas-electric hybrids in favour of diesel engines.

    And North American consumer acceptance of hybrids appears to have been accelerating in the first quarter of 2006, Hermance said. U.S. sales now surpass the combined demand in the rest the world.

    While Canadians consider themselves just as environmentally sensitive as the United States, they buy far fewer hybrids - about 4,000 were sold in all of Canada last year.

    Industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers said Canada's slower acceptance of hybrids is due to higher taxes that leave Canadians with less buying power and little "price elasticity," or wiggle room in their budgets.

    Windsor Star

    © The Gazette (Montreal) 2006

  2. Hot Georgia

    Hot Georgia Well-Known Member

    Our family might end up with something like this when our Grand Caravan goes away.
  3. philmcneal

    philmcneal Has it been 10 years? Wow

    one guy named ventriollo on GH has his camry hybrid and he LOVES IT! only 39 mpg though ;(

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