Plant­ing Toy­ota’s fu­ture

A new en­gine fac­tory has ex­ports in sight, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Onroad -

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).

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