Planting Toyota’s future
A new engine factory has exports in sight, writes Paul Gover
THE future of the Camry Hybrid looks safe in Australia. A $300 million investment in a new engine factory in Melbourne shows Toyota is committed to the car beyond the life of the current Camry. It also points to potential exports of the special four-cylinder, Atkinsoncycle petrol engine used in the Camry Hybrid, currently only built in Japan.
Toyota is investing in a factory that will build both the Atkinson-cycle and regular Otto-cycle engine used in the non-hybrid Camry in a program that is also backed by the state and federal governments.
Production will begin late in 2012 and Toyota is aiming for more than 100,000 engines a year, enough to service the Camry factory at Altona at current and future production levels.
Toyota Australia president Max Yasuda says: ‘‘Securing the investment to produce the next-generation engine is a huge vote of confidence for our local manufacturing plant and our employees, who have worked tirelessly to improve operational performance to demonstrate our ability to compete with Asia Pacific counterparts.
‘‘ Toyota operations around the world are constantly vying for new investment to ensure local manufacturing operations can participate in the global car-making industry.’’
The basics of the four-cylinder petrol engines are identical, which means most of the manufacturing process will be common. Toyota Australia ad- mits it is aiming for export sales of both versions of the four-cylinder engine, most likely to other Camry factories around the Asean region.
Australia has a history of enginemaking with Toyota, stretching back to 1978 when the first engine factory outside Japan was built in Melbourne.
Secure: the Camry Hybrid’s future looks set in Australia after Toyota announced a new engine factory in Melbourne will build the car’s Atkinson-cycle engine (inset).