Geared up for as­cent

Toy­ota faces a long-dis­tance haul next year, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive -

AQUIET year and big 2010 dis­counts will be fol­lowed by one of the most im­por­tant Toy­ota prod­uct pushes of re­cent times next year.

The main­stream Camry is set for a com­plete re­make, the baby Yaris will be re­newed and the funky FJ Cruiser will add some Gen Y im­pact to show­rooms. But there is much more from Toy­ota in 2011, in­clud­ing the pre­view of the pro­duc­tion ver­sion of the make-or-break FT-86 sports car.

Among the likely pre­views are a set of Prius hy­brid spin-offs led by a peo­ple mover and a coupe— and per­haps a pick-up — and a late-year show­ing of the next Corolla, most likely at the Tokyo Mo­tor Show.

‘‘Toy­ota pol­icy is we don’t com­ment on any po­ten­tial fu­ture prod­uct,’’ says Mike Breen of Toy­ota Aus­tralia. ‘‘We have three ma­jor launches next year. You can prob­a­bly guess what they are.’’

He stonewalls on any­thing be­yond the big three, even though leaked plans from the US high­light the amount of new prod­uct com­ing from the world’s biggest car­maker.

The RAV4 is set for a re­make in 2012 fol­low­ing a pre­view in ’11, prob­a­bly with some sort of hy­brid drive sys­tem. The Kluger could also get a facelift late next year.

‘‘The years fol­low­ing 2011 will see us start to in­tro­duce new mod­els,’’ says Breen.

‘‘It’s not go­ing to all come at once. It will hap­pen over a cou­ple of years in a grad­ual process.

‘‘The only model we can talk about is FJ Cruiser, which will be launched in March next year.’’

The update on the Yaris will bring a six-speed au­to­matic gear­box and prob­a­bly a 1.5-litre starter en­gine, with a hy­brid model also on the cards.

The Camry will be com­pletely new and much bolder than the cur­rent car — and will con­tinue to be built at Al­tona. It will fea­ture a hy­brid model.

The other cru­cial model is the next Corolla, set for sales in 2012. Toy­ota ex­tended the life of the cur­rent model so the next change is likely to be big.

Gi­ant on the move: the FJ Cruiser, a new Yaris and a new RAV4 are on the way at Toy­ota.

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