Toy­ota plugs in for come­back

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

THE big­gest fight­back in Toy­ota his­tory be­gins in Mo­town next week.

The Ja­panese com­pany is still No.1 in Aus­tralia, but has slipped from the top glob­ally af­ter a 2010 show­room cam­paign hit hard by nat­u­ral dis­as­ters in Ja­pan and Thai­land, as well as a lack of buyer con­fi­dence in the US.

Toy­ota plans to start its of­fen­sive in Amer­ica be­cause that’s where it sells the most ve­hi­cles — and has a con­cept car to light the fire.

Not sur­pris­ingly, the NS4 is a plug-in hy­brid.

Noth­ing is be­ing said about the NS4 un­til the car’s un­veil­ing on Jan­uary 10 at the Detroit Mo­tor Show open­ing,

Detroit show­cases some of the key things we’re bank­ing on dur­ing 2012

but Toy­ota leaked a pre­view pic­ture show­ing a pre­dictable bank of LED lights with a blue-tinged re­flec­tor hint­ing at a green at­tack.

Toy­ota will also use the Detroit show to em­pha­sise its Prius C, a fam­ily van with a hy­brid power pack, as well as the pro­gres­sive roll-out of the fam­ily Camry on sale in Aus­tralia, and about to be fol­lowed here by the V6 Au­rion and Camry hy­brid.

Chrysler also is mass­ing its forces for a re­newed push in Detroit. ‘‘For us, Detroit show­cases some of the key things we’re go­ing to be re­leas­ing and bank­ing on dur­ing 2012,’’ says Clyde Camp­bell, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Chrysler Jeep Aus­tralia.

‘‘That’s the SRT8 in both the 300C and Grand Chero­kee. Also the 300C it­self.’’

The V8 per­for­mance cars have head­lined for Chrysler in Aus­tralia in the past and Camp­bell is con­fi­dent they will do it again from 2012, with an all-new 300C fi­nally ar­riv­ing — though a year af­ter the start of left-hand drive sales — and the im­pres­sive Grand Chero­kee pick­ing up an en­gine and sporty tweaks that will do far more than the ba­sic V6 pack­age.

Chrysler also is keep­ing quiet about its ex­act plans for the show but Camp­bell is con­fi­dent of hints on up­com­ing mod­els — per­haps in­clud­ing a mid-sized car to lift the brand be­yond its pre­vi­ous un­der­whelm­ing Se­bring.

‘‘There are also a cou­ple of new de­sign plat­forms, that we are very con­fi­dent about bring­ing to Aus­tralia,’’ Camp­bell says.

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