Toyota plugs in for comeback
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.