Falcon’s wings clipped as Toyota capitalises
WHEN Toyota starts doing value-added deals on the Camry, you know times are tough.
Brand T is easily the favourite pick with new-car buyers in Australia, with around one-in-four choosing a Toyota somewhere between the extremes of the baby Yaris and the hulking LandCruiser.
The Camry sits squarely in the middle but is different from the rest, apart from the V6 Aurion, because it is built here in Australia.
That means it is suffering as buyers look to the boatloads of immigrants for the best price, most likely something from Korea or Thailand, with the best value.
Right now, a Hyundai i40 from $29,990 or a Kia Optima from $30,690 looks pretty good when you compare the design, equipment and warranty — five years for the Koreans — against a Camry that opens at $30,490.
The Camry drives very nicely but fewer people are bothering with a serious test drive and the HyundaiKia twins make a powerful Audi-style first impression sitting in a showroom.
So, presto, we have a Camry Atara R with a claimed $3000 value boost and a bottom line of $31,820.
There is no change to the engine or the five-star safety package, but it picks up bigger 17-inch alloy wheels — including the spare — sports bumper/grille/side skirts, a three-spoke premium steering wheel, infotainment with a 6.1 screen and reversing camera.
The Atara R is built from the basic Altise, which is where Toyota is doing the heavy price fighting against the imports, but it should also help as Aussie families shop around for the best deals among the locals.
Right now, that’s clearly the updated VF Commodore and not the Ford Falcon
The Commodore is a rip- per newcomer that drips class and its starting price has been slashed to $34,990. It’s a certainty for the finals of the Carsguide Car of the Year in November and sets a new high for anything built in Australia.
Holden says it is still battling to get cars built and out to customers, and it is holding an incredible 450 orders for the wicked new GTS from Holden Special Vehicles, but its sales results aren’t as impressive as analysts predicted in the run-up to the VF.
Sales of the Falcon dropped again last month to just 580 cars, a nasty number that shows buyers have lost confidence in the car and the brand.
Ford Australia says it still plans to build the Falcon into 2016, but it’s looking less and less likely to actually happen as the company strips days out of its production-line schedule at Broadmeadows.
Last month’s showroom results show Camry deliveries were up— 150 cars— on August 2012, but only because it’s been playing with driveaway pricing and lowinterest financing to convert browsers to buyers.
Now it has 2500 Atara Rs ready for action and hopeful it will be the right car at the right price at the right time.