Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Sunday, Nov 03, 2002
Columns - Auto Focus
The jewel in Toyota's crown
HEAR, hear all ye commoners, and make way for this Japanese crown prince! Well, if you thought I was talking about the Japanese royal family, you are wrong. I was referring to the prince among luxury cars from Japan the Toyota Camry.
Named after the English phonetic spelling of the Japanese word for a small crown, the Toyota Camry has an enviable history; much like the country it hails from. And for Indian car buyers starved for quality in this class, the launch of the Camry must seem like a caviar and champagne dinner, instead of the usual chapatti and dal fry.
So, starting this week, if you have Rs 18.50 lakh to spare, you can drive out a Camry. Toyota has loaded the two Indian variants with features that its peers would find hard to emulate. And, though Toyota is the last to launch a luxury passenger car in India, the Camry is sure to give the others a run for their money.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor Limited (TKML) the Indian joint venture in which the Kirloskars have a miniscule shareholding will import the Camry directly from Japan. Pristine quality being topmost on Toyota's priority list, the latest sixth generation Camry is being launched here.
The new generation Camry rides on an all-new platform, and is more spacious, quieter and more powerful than its predecessors. Since it was first introduced in 1983, Toyota Motor Corporation has sold more than 8 million units of the Camry all over the world. It has been the best-selling passenger car in the US for the last four years, and is sold in more than 100 countries worldwide.
With so much going for establishing its pedigree, the Camry's Indian avatar has been crafted to more than just satisfy its buyers.
The Toyota Camry comes with a powerful and advanced 2.4-litre engine with VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent an advanced engine technology developed by Toyota that ensures optimal performance and low emissions). A high-performance four-speed manual transmission and H-TEMS electronically controlled suspension gives class-leading comfort, handling, cruising stability and cabin quietness.
It offers enlarged luggage space and its clean and supple surfaces give a luxurious exterior design.
The interior features a horizontal theme with an expansive instrument panel to provide a more spacious feel and sense of openness. Unfortunately, in its price segment, the Camry will, most likely, be chauffeur-driven.
The H-TEMS electronically controlled suspension uses the latest H-damping control and independent four-absorber damping control, which offers a smooth ride and stable hold to increase driving pleasure. The outstanding cabin-quietness in the Camry comes from the use of a rigid body and effective placement of damping, acoustic and insulating material, which reduce wind and road noise to achieve an extremely quiet cabin.
The Toyota Camry is equipped with class-topping safety features, including the global outstanding assessment's (GOA) advanced collision safety body and dual stage supplemental restraint system (SRS) airbags for the front seats and SRS curtain shield airbags for the rear seats.
In addition, all Camry models are ultra-low-emission vehicles; with emission levels that are 75 per cent lower than the stipulated standard for 2000.
Interior furnishings, such as the pillars and roof-side rails, offer safety equal to that outlined in the US head impact protection standards. The outer seating positions in the rear have a dedicated ISOFIX (an ISO standard for child seat attachments) compliant anchor each for easy and secure attachment of child seats.
Other features include the electronic brake-force distribution feature, which distributes braking force optimally between the front and rear wheels, according to changes in load conditions and shifts in physical load caused by deceleration. Wide-view, heated rain-clearing door mirrors turn raindrops on their surface into a film to enhance visibility and uses a photo-catalytic effect to dissolve organic matter and prevent dirt build-up. The four-lamp multi-reflector headlights and HIR (Halogen Infrared Reflection) bulbs in the Camry increase light flux by 1.8 times, providing excellent visibility for the driver.
The Camry is available in two variants V1 and V2, which are priced at Rs 18.5 lakh and Rs 19.5 lakh respectively.
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