Fuel to the duel in sales
Better economy is the latest pitch battle, writes PAUL GOVER
FUEL economy is the new weapon in the fight for Australian sales supremacy. GM Holden is less than two months from an economy-based update of its VE Commodore, Ford is promising a fourcylinder Falcon and more next year, and Toyota has just slashed the fuel consumption of its family-focused Camry.
The four-cylinder Toyota now tips the bowsers at an official rating of 8.8 litres for 100km, trumping the best Commodore at 10.6 and the most efficient of the Falcons, the sixspeed automatic XT built after April, at 9.9.
But Holden is promising a double-digit improvement to its economy when the updated VE hits the road, probably in early September, and Toyota will only hold the line at 9.9 when it does a similar update job to the Camry on its V6 Aurion in September.
Toyota Australia’s head of sales and marketing, Dave Buttner, says: ‘‘Fuel econ- omy is an important issue for consumers. It’s important that we remain competitive.
‘‘There is no denying there have been improvements by some of our competitors. We are focused on our customers’ needs.’’
That focus is reflected in a facelift that gives the Camry a slight visual lift and a significant value hike.
Toyota says all models now come with six airbags and Bluetooth phone connection, and the Ateva and Grande get a rear parking camera. The Grande also has keyless entry and starting, reversing sonar and an upgraded sound system.
The bottom line is also sharper, with a $1200 price cut on the Ateva and Sportivo.