Toyota Planed to build hybrid Camry in Australia 2010

Toyota has confirmed it will build a hybrid version of its Camry sedan in Australia from 2010.

The announcement has created a green race between two of Australia's three local vehicle producers - Holden and Toyota - to see which will be the first to bring a frugal hybrid car to dealerships.

"We are delighted to have secured production of Australia's first local hybrid. It represents an exciting new chapter in the Toyota Australia story," says Toyota Australia CEO and president Masahide Yasuda. "From 2010 we plan to produce 10,000 Camrys at the Altona plant [in Melbourne]."

A senior General Motors executive also recently said Holden would begin selling a hybrid version of its Commodore by 2010.

Victorian premier John Brumby described the Toyota hybrid announcement as "a very historic day".

"This is a green letter day," says Brumby. "It marks the start of an exciting new era in our automotive industry."

The Toyota Camry hybrid is expected to use between six and seven litres of fuel per 100 kilometres travelled, 30 to 40 per cent less fuel than a regular four-cylinder petrol automatic Camry _ and about the same as a small car.

Carbon dioxide emissions for the hybrid Camry should fall from about 230 grams per kilometre to 140g/km.

The hybrid Camry should save its owner roughly $1000 a year in fuel bills, compared with the normal petrol Camry (based on 15,000km a year usage).

The company will also begin building the Focus small car _ including a diesel variant that uses just 5.6L/100km _ in Australia from 2011.

The move to produce hybrid and diesel vehicles is seen as a stepping stone to emission-free motoring promised by hydrogen fuel cells.

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