Toyota Camry Sets Out To Test Indian Market

Updated: Oct 27 2002, 05:30am hrs
Keeping its word, last week, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Ltd (TKML) set all speculation to rest when it announced the introduction of one of its most talked about cars, the Toyota Camry, in India. The mid-class luxury sedan, which has a proven track record in other parts of the world, is seeking to repeat that performance in the Indian market.

To be sold in India in the first year of its launch through the completely built unit (CBU) route, the model of the Camry launched in India is the sixth generation of the series. Riding on an all-new platform, with more space and power than its predecessors, the Camry could well hot up the existing competition.

Says automotive expert Murad Ali Baig, There are two good things about the Camry. First, it is the most successful car in its category and the largest selling car in the US. It is a product that has everything going for it, and a class proven car.

The second thing is that the Camry comes from Toyota, which has a formidable reputation in India, explains Mr Baig. All those who have driven the Toyota Crown or Corolla know the reliability of the brand, he says.

Considering Toyotas reputation, the advanced 2.4 litre engine with VVT-i (variable valve timing intelligent technology developed by Toyota) is definitely a talking point. The high-speed, five-speed manual transmission and electronically controlled suspension are other key factors that the Camry boasts of in order to provide comfort, handling, cruising stability and cabin quietness.

Camry Specification Sheet

Transmission: 5 speed manual Dimensions And Weight
Overall Length: 4,815 mm
Overall Width: 1,810mm
Overall Height: 1,490mm
Wheel Base: 2,720 mm
Ground Clearance: 150 mm
Kerb Weight: 1,470 kg
Gross Vehicle Weight: 1,935kg Chassis Suspension
Front: MacPherson struts (L-shaped lower arms, gas-filled shock absorbers with stabiliser bar)
Rear: Dual link struts, (lower arms, gas-filled shock absorbers with stabiliser bar)

Front: Ventilated discs
Rear: Discs Engine
Type: 4 cyl, in-line, twin cam 16 valve
Piston Displacement: 2,362 cc
Max Output: 149.87 bhp/5,600 rpm
Max Torque: 22.2 kg-m/3,800-4,200 rpm
Max Speed: 210 km/hr
Fuel System: Electronic Fuel Injection
Airbags: Driver + Passengers + Side
Seat Surface Materials: Both fabric
and leather options available
Wheels: 7-spoke aluminium (15 x 6 1/2
Air-Conditioner: Automatic
AudioTwin Din AM FM cassette CD with 10 CD changer in boat
Additional Features: keyless entry with immobiliser body coloured side protective mouldings body coloured fully retractable rear view mirrors Colours
Silver, dark grey, black, dark red
Other highlights of the Camry include enlarged luggage space on par with that of a large car, and enough space for five adults along with the luggage. On the safety side, the Camry has a global outstanding assessment (GOA) advanced collision safety body, dual stage supplement restraint system (SRS) airbags for the front seats and SRS curtain shield airbags for the rear seats.

Add to this an ISOFIX (an ISO standard for child seat attachments) compliant anchor on the rear seat for easier and secure attachments of child seats, and what could be better

Now for a detailed look at the Camrys features. It has an electronic brake force distribution feature, which distributes braking force optimally between the front and the rear wheels according to changes in load conditions and shifts in physical load caused by deceleration. The door mirrors of the Camry use a photocatalytic effect to dissolve organic matter and prevent dirt build up, while during rainy conditions, the heated door mirrors turn raindrops on their surface into a film to enhance visibility.

Yet, despite these attractive features, it is too early to say that the Camry will simply sweep across the Indian market, notwithstanding its success overseas. Explains Mr Baig, The downside of the Camry is that it is a new brand to the Indian market, even if it comes from Toyota. He is right. The Corolla and the Crown have established themselves in India through their performance, one is not as sure of the Camry. It is yet to prove itself here in India, Mr Baig cautions.

The other major factor against the Camry would be the price. The top end model, the Camry V3, is priced at Rs 18.45 lakh, while the Camry V1 costs Rs 17.95 lakh. In the price sensitive Indian market, a sum of Rs 17 lakh and above would prove to be a deterrent, feels Mr Baig. One would do well to notice that and the Hyundai Sonata did better than the Ford Mondeo and the Honda Accord purely on the price basis. The Camry is likely to attract the embassy crowd, but very unlikely to attract the banias, Mr Baig says. If this is to be the case, then it remains to be seen how successful TKML will be in its plans to sell 1,000 units of the Camry in the first year.