Fuel to the duel in sales

Bet­ter econ­omy is the lat­est pitch bat­tle, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

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.

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