Fal­con’s wings clipped as Toy­ota cap­i­talises

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By PAUL GOVER

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.

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