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GoodwoodThe "Classic Motor Sport Tour" includes visits to Goodwood Revival, Donington Grand Prix Collection, Grand Prix Historique de la Vienne, Manoir de L'Automobile and Museum de L'Automobile at Le Mans and, for a farewell dinner, Atelier Renault on Champs Elysees. Also included are city tours of London and Paris, Classic Team Lotus Works tour and Brands Hatch race master (with an opportunity of a drive in a high performance Renault). This great tour includes return economy air fares, departure tax, transfers, 13 breakfasts, 3 dinners and 13 nights accommodation.

    See the brochure for more details ..... here.

    Bookings close Wednesday 25th June, 2008.

    Telephone Sheryl Poulter at Preston Travel on (03) 9470.4737 for enquiries and bookings.

A Dud For Rudd


11th June, 2008

Toyota Camry Hybrid

Toyota, the world's second largest vehicle manufacturer, has announced that it is to start production of a Camry Hybrid model in Australia and Thailand as part of its on-going efforts to develop worldwide interest in their unpopular hybrid vehicles.

Hybrid vehicles, using petrol rather than diesel, are seen by Next Car's editor, Stephen Walker, as a wasted opportunity. Efficient diesels, such as those powering Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot, Renault and Volkswagen vehicles, amongst others, are saving Australians money at the bowsers and are reducing the CO2 burden on our environment. "The overly expensive hybrids are unpopular for numerous reasons ..... firstly, they were quite unattractive when first introduced, secondly, they have little or no demand second-hand and, thirdly, the unknown expense of replacement batteries down the line makes ownership uncompetitive. But the real problem with current Japanese hybrid vehicles is the fact that they still use petrol. The Europeans discovered years ago that the way to cut fuel consumption and emissions was to use diesel engines. And history is on the side of the Europeans who have proven, quite conclusively, that performance and economy can co-exist. The idea of a petrol hybrid is in the past and technology has left petrol hybrids in the past. If Toyota wants to look to the future they need to study Volkswagen's twin-charger system" our Editor indicated.

In Australia, the new Camry Hybrid will be going into production in 2010 at Toyota Motor Corporation Australia’s Altona factory in Melbourne, with an annual target of 10,000 units. In Thailand, the centre for production is Toyota Motor Thailand’s (TMT) Gateway Plant, where the aim is for 9,000 vehicles to be built each year from 2009.

In an Australian Government-sponsored press conference, Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe said: “We decided to build the Camry Hybrid in Australia because Australians are keenly aware of environmental issues, including global warming, and we are confident that the Camry Hybrid will be well received. Toyota intends to make further efforts toward popularising hybrid vehicles.”

The conference was attended by members of the Australian Government, including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Speaking in Bangkok today, Mitsuhiro Sonoda, TMT President, said: “Thailand is the first ASEAN country to build hybrid vehicles. As the Camry has received a warm welcome from Thai customers, we are sure they will be satisfied not only with the product, but also with its environmental performance.”

Ever since the introduction, in 1997, of the Toyota Prius – the world's first mass-produced petrol-electric hybrid vehicle – Toyota has been making a concerted effort to promote and popularise hybrid technology, as part of its high-priority environmental-management policy. However, these efforts have shown little success, to date.

Toyota aims to sell one million or more hybrid vehicles annually as early as possible in the 2010s and, taking market needs into consideration, is working to put in place an optimal hybrid vehicle production system worldwide.

Australian taxpayers, for better or worse, have contributed some $35,000,000 to Toyota because of their decision to manufacture the Camry Hybrid in Australia. Additionally, the Victorian State Government, has contributed an unspecified contribution to Toyota's shareholders.

Taxpayers will be left scratching their collective heads on this one. During the "Howard" years, taxpayers got used to what many would see as a bit of funny business. Now, it seems, history will just repeat itself. Our editor, Stephen Walker believes Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, has backed a 'dud' with this cash giveaway. Walker claims "if any car maker believes a petrol hybrid is wanted in the market, then let their own cash be put at risk. If, and it is a big 'if', there is a queue forming, then they will make a fortune."

Outline of TMCA

Company name: Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Ltd (TMCA)
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Established: 1959
President: Masahide Yasuda
Equity participation: Toyota Motor Corporation 100%
Plant name: Altona
Annual production capacity: 150,000 units
Products: Camry, Aurion
2007 production results: 149,000 units
Number of employees: 4,500 (as of 31st May, 2008)

Outline of TMT

Company name: Toyota Motor Thailand Co. Ltd (TMT)
Locations:  -
Samrong Plant – Samutprakarn Province, approx. 15 km south of Bangkok
Gateway Plant – Chachoengsao Province, approx. 110 km southeast of Bangkok
Ban Pho Plant – Chachoengsao Province, approx. 65 km southeast of Bangkok
Established 1962
President Mitsuhiro Sonoda
Equity participation: Toyota Motor Corporation 86.4%, Siam Cement Public Co. Ltd 10%, others 3.6%,
Start of production: Samrong 1964, Gateway 1996, Ban Pho 2007
Annual production capacity: Samrong 250,000 units, Gateway 200,000 units, Ban Pho 100,000 units
Products: Samrong – Hilux, Fortuner; Gateway – Camry, Corolla, Soluna, Vios, Wish, Yaris; Ban Pho – Hilux.
2007 production results: 502,000 (including CKD production)
Number of employees 14,000 (as of 31st May, 2008)

Other Alternative Fuel Vehicle content: here.

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