Locally made Camry will run to the end of 2017 as Toyota admits its sedan sales will soften.
Toyota will drop the large Aurion sedan from its Australian line-up when it reintroduces a six-cylinder Camry for the first time since 2006.
The locally made Camry will cease production late in 2017 after 30 years of production in Australia, with the eighth generation Japanese built model – just unveiled at the Detroit motor show - set to replace it.
Among the new models will be a new variant known as the Camry V6.
"We will have a four-cylinder, we will have a hybrid, and we will bring the Camry V6, and that will supersede the Aurion," said Toyota Australia's director of sales Tony Cramb.
Mr Cramb believes the release of the V6 Camry – which is set to be powered by the same 3.5-litre direct injection unit as the newly updated Kluger – means the Aurion will become a tough sell in a declining large sedan market that has already claimed the Ford Falcon, and will soon see the end of the locally-produced Holden Commodore.
"I think with the emergence of a Camry V6, that market is probably at the point where you couldn't manage to have more than one nameplate," he said. "The market itself is shrinking, and so for us, that kind of entrant as a Camry into a segment which is big enough for one Toyota is a great entrant into that market."
The large Aurion debuted in Australia in 2006 and has been a relatively vital part of the Toyota model mix.
"Aurion's been wonderful for us," admitted Mr Cramb. "We've sold over 100,000 during its life and it's done an amazing job, but it was probably launched at a different time in the Australian automotive industry. I think the market is changing, and we're changing with it."
The exact date for the Altona factory closure – a call made by Toyota Australia in 2015 - is still under consideration, but Mr Cramb said the company is close to a decision.
"We're in the process of finalising the date. By the end of March we will know when local manufacturing (of Camry) is complete, so obviously as a commitment to our suppliers and also to our employees we want to tell them first," he said.
Mr Cramb has no expectations that the new Camry will exceed sales records set by the locally made car given the market's shift to SUVs, as well as the fact that the locally built Camry currently enjoys favoured status with many large Australian companies. He's confident, though, that private buyers will be impressed with the new, more aggressively styled car.
"We've showed you the new Prius. We're about to show you the C-HR (compact crossover). Both of those vehicles are off the (same) TNGA (Toyota New Generation Architecture) platform," he said. "They take advantage of this lower centre of gravity and stiffer chassis, and the double wishbone rear suspension, so it gives you that really engaging drive, and you'll experience that with Camry, both in the six-cylinder and the four-cylinder variants.
"I think at that point you'll start to understand why we're so excited about this car," he said.
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