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UMW Toyota Motor held a line-off ceremony to mark the start of production of the 2015 Toyota Camry at the Assembly Services Sdn Bhd plant in Shah Alam earlier today. Three variants will be produced here – the Camry 2.0E and 2.0G petrol and the Camry Hybrid 2.5HV, the latter being the first Toyota hybrid to be assembled in Malaysia (CKD).

Nearly RM180 million has been spent from 2010 to 2015 on the Camry CKD project, and as a result, the newly-set up line at the Shah Alam plant is capable of churning out 9,000 units of the Camry – 7,000 of which being the Hybrid variant – over the next nine months.

The nine-month mention is of interest – it points to December 2015, which is of course when the government’s tax breaks for CKD hybrids are set to expire. As of now, there are no plans yet to extend the incentive, so Toyota would want to ride this nine-month wave as much as it can while it awaits feedback from the government.

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Already launched in Thailand, the 2015 Toyota Camry has been spotted in Malaysia several times – the Camry 2.0 will get a new 2.0 litre VVT-iW D-4S engine and possibly a six-speed auto. The new 6AR-FSE engine, manufactured in China for our market, has separate twin injectors for both direct and port injection, and makes 167 PS/199 Nm, compared to the current 2.0 VVT-i’s 150 PS/190 Nm. With the six-speed auto, a 13% fuel efficiency improvement is claimed too.

The Toyota Camry Hybrid has a 2.5 litre Atkinson-cycle VVTi four-cylinder petrol engine that develops 160 hp and 213 Nm of torque. The 2AR-FXE joins forces with a 143 PS/270 Nm electric motor and an eCVT gearbox for a total output of 205 PS and a claimed consumption figure of 19.6 km per litre. A hybrid battery warranty of eight years with unlimited mileage will be offered. This same eight year warranty will also apply to other new Toyota hybrid models on sale, but sadly not available for existing Toyota hybrids already on the road.

From the looks of it, the Hybrid models previewed at the ceremony will feature most of the toys found on the Thai-spec 2.5HV – there are twin-projector LED headlights, a 10-speaker JBL Green Edge Tech sound system, a Qi wireless charger and Blind Spot Monitor.

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Local cars lose out, however, on triple-zone automatic air-conditioning – sticking with the current car’s dual-zone system, albeit with a new Panasonic Nanoe ioniser – and power-reclining rear seats, and there’s no indication for now of whether they will receive the Thai cars’ full suite of active and passive safety systems.

According to UMW Toyota president Datuk Ismet Suki, the updated Camry and Camry Hybrid are set to be launched on April 2, and both will be priced under RM200k. With reference to the upcoming Goods and Services Tax (GST), Ismet made no mention as to whether prices will go up or down, but he said that any savings will be passed on to the customer.

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