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Thursday, February 19, 2009
The contents below refers to the Asian Flagship Camry, which is different from the Global Camry sold in Japan, North America, Australia and Middle East.
Yesterday, China became the first country to debut the 2009 Camry Minor Change (facelift). On the surface of it, there is very little visible change and neither are there any major upgrades in the specifications other than the inclusion of G-Book option; Toyota's telematics service. More on that later.
You have to try really hard to spot the differences between the outgoing pre-facelift model and the facelift model. Maybe the term "nano-change" is more appropriate here.
The new facelift model can be spotted with their :
New front grille (New design on the left, note the different grille slates and surrounds)
Revised front bumper design (sportier air dam)
New tail lamp lenses (new design on the left). LED tail lamps typically require a more complicated housing design in order to accomodate a heat sink to dissipate the heat generated from those super bright LEDs. So unless the previous outgoing model have issues with premature failure of the LEDs, it's odd that the tail lamp assembly is larger now.
New alloy wheel design (new design on the left)
Like the Civic Minor Change, it is quite understandable why Toyota have left the Camry design largely untouched - because there is no need to. Among all the Japanese D-segment sedans, I personally think the Camry looks the best, though as an overall package it is not my favourite. That honour goes to the Nissan Teana. The Teana has the best ride comfort and interior ergonomics but it has not sold very well outside Japan due to its high price and "unconventional" looks. I never really quite fancied the Honda Accord, though I have to add it drives better than the other Japanese D-segment sedans. I have never quite got over the Accord's looks. It looks like the car have been designed by 3 different committees. There is no one single cohesive theme and the car just looks wrong from almost every angle. It tries to ape too much from the E60 BMW 5-series, which is not exactly a pretty car to start with and those Bangle lines can only be pulled off on a BMW and on nothing else. It might appeal to the Americans though - brash in your face design, crude and big.
The Chinese Camry is also similar to the models sold in Taiwan and other ASEAN
(Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia) markets. It is also sold in Australia (only in V6 guise) as the Aurion, to challenge the traditional stronghold of Aussie cars - large six cylinder sedans dominated by Holden Commodores and Ford Falcons.
The launch of the Chinese Camry also saw introduction of Toyota's G-Book telematics service for the first time outside Japan. In the context passenger cars, telematics services are basically souped up satellite navigation systems that also combines audio entertainment functions, satellite based vehicle tracking security system (including remote unlocking via satellite in the event you locked yourself out of the car), emergency services link (SOS signal is sent to the country's emergency services number when airbags are deployed or when the driver comes across the scene of an accident) and also real-time traffic information system.
Many big name manufacturers are already offering such services in major markets of North America, Japan and Europe. GM has its OnStar, Mercedes-Benz has TeleAid and BMW has ConnectedDrive. While China is the first country to roll out G-Book outside Japan, it is not the first telematics service in China. Nissan unveiled its Star Wings in China in the middle of 2008.
Grade line-up in China.
Many of the features below are already available in high end Camry variants in larger markets like Thailand and Taiwan.
The Chinese market Camry is assembled domestically in China by Guangzhou Toyota, one of the two local joint ventures Toyota has in China. Its other partner is FAW-Toyota. Guangzhou Toyota manufactures the Camry while FAW Toyota manufactures Reiz (Mark X), Corolla, Vios, Land Cruiser, Land Cruiser Prado and Prius.
For more information on G-Book services, go here or you can download this video. Ignoring the model specific safety features and future concepts, most of the functions within this so called Intelligent Transport System have already been provided by G-Book (i.e. HelpNet, Map-On-Demand and real time traffic information)
Images from chesi.com via autoincar.com
Related link :
Next generation 2011 Camry and a brief history of Camry
Toyota Camry Minor Change Sales Manual (Indonesian market) - Differences between old and new
Posted by AutoIndustrie at 3:47 AM