• Oct 13, 2006


For the first time on U.S. soil, Toyota began manufacturing a hybrid. The vehicle in question is the Camry Hybrid and the soil of which we write is in Georgetown, Kentucky.

As Toyota already sells upwards of 400,000 Camrys in the U.S. each year, offering the hybrid version has merely been icing on a very popular cake. However, the plan, aside from worldwide automotive domination, is to offer a 'normal' sized vehicle equipped with a hybrid power train to show that you don't have to drive a Prius to get enviro-cred. Exhibit "A": the very prominent 'Hybrid' badging on both front quarter panels, plus two on the rear deckled.

That said, the pricing of the gas-electric Camry is one its more enticing attributes, as its sticker of $25,900 drops it squarely in between its optioned out four- and six-cylinder siblings. Gas mileage in the high-30s doesn't hurt either.

The full press release is after the jump, if you're into that sort of thing.

PRESS RELEASE

Oct 12, 2006 12:45 America/Los_Angeles

Toyota's First North American Hybrid Production Begins in Kentucky

Camry Hybrid Rolls off the Assembly Line in Georgetown

GEORGETOWN, Ky., Oct. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. (TMMK) celebrated the production launch of the Camry Hybrid today -- Toyota's first hybrid vehicle produced in North America.

The addition of hybrid production represents a $10 million investment at TMMK, which will build approximately 48,000 Camry Hybrid vehicles per year.

TMMK was established in 1986 and is Toyota's largest plant in North America. It employs approximately 7,000 team members and currently builds the Camry, Avalon and Solara. The plant has the capacity to build 500,000 vehicles annually. Since its inception, TMMK has built about 6.7 million vehicles, and the plant's current investment is $5.4 billion.

"We are proud, excited and honored to be Toyota's first plant in North America to build a hybrid vehicle," said Steve St. Angelo, President of TMMK. "It's a great tribute to the tremendous ability and skill level of all of our team members, who have been building the Camry, America's number one selling sedan."

"America's hybrid leader now sells a Camry hybrid made in America," said Don Esmond, Toyota Motor Sales senior vice president, Automotive Operations. "Production at the new Kentucky plant marks an exciting chapter in Toyota's history and a monumental step toward our ongoing commitment to hybrid technology."

The Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive System consists of gas and electric power sources that are complementary and produce a combined 187 horsepower. This system varies power between gas and electric, or both, as needed. The first- half of the system consists of a 2.4 liter four cylinder engine, assembled at TMMK's Power Train plant. The Atkinson-cycle engine generates 147 hp and is coupled to a continuously variable transmission. The second half of the Hybrid Synergy Drive equation consists of a small, high torque electric motor that produces 141 horsepower, an ultra-small inverter with a specially designed compact battery and a transaxle to provide the economy and seamless performance hybrid drivers seek.

The Camry Hybrid joins a growing Toyota and Lexus hybrid lineup in the U.S., which currently includes the groundbreaking Toyota Prius, Lexus RX 400h luxury hybrid sport utility vehicle (SUV), Toyota Highlander Hybrid mid-size SUV, and the 2007 Lexus GS 450h hybrid luxury sedan. In 2007, Lexus will be adding the LS 600h to the hybrid lineup. Since Toyota began selling hybrid vehicles in North America in 2000, the company has sold approximately 420,000 hybrid vehicles here. In 1997, Toyota became a pioneer in the industry by launching the Prius, a mass-production hybrid vehicle with outstanding environmental performance. Toyota has positioned hybrid systems as a key technology for the twenty-first century and is taking measures to promote the widespread use of hybrid vehicles.


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  • 26 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      What I want to know is who is buying these brown cars?
      • 8 Years Ago
      i like this idea better than the Accord V6 hybrid - the Accord starts at something like $30k adn fully loaded can rn you over $32k - yikes,

      at lease now you can get a midsize one for $26k, and maybe later GM will bring one in for less, we;'ll have to wait and see
      • 8 Years Ago
      >>I love how autoblog put the worst possible picture of the new Camry up!

      They always put drab looking base models of Accords and Camrys up just so the import-hating rednecks will cry "BLAND" whenever a discussion about either of the two cars come up.

      You'd never catch them posting this pic:
      http://www.itnetwerk.com/photography/albums/userpics/10019/Toyota%20Camry.jpg
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm curious to make a comparation between a Toyota made in Japan and one makde in USA.

      http://www.auto-power-girl.com/
      • 8 Years Ago
      So what's the real world mileage for one of these junkers?

      The little Hybrids claim 50-60 and only achieve upper 30s/ low 40s when you need AC in summer or heat in winter, so does "mileage in the 30s" translate to no better than my Aztek's highway mileage in the upper 20s?

      If so, what would be the point of going into debt for one in Nebraska, which only has a month to 6 weeks each of spring and fall, meaning that the rest of the year you're heating or air conditioning?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Well I have an 04 Prius and have a new Camry Hybrid on order. Will probably sell the Prius when the new Camry Hybrid comes in. The mileage should be in the mid 30's according to what I have read. The Prius delivered mid 40's so it will be somewhat less but better than any other car in its' class. The backlog on the Camry hybrid is around 4 months on ordered vehicles, so they must really be popular. We ordered the Camry because it has more interior room, and not because of the mileage. The smart key was another reason for ordering the hybrid. If it is anywhere near as reliable as the Prius it will be a great car.
      • 8 Years Ago
      GM 3800 equipped automobiles driven moderately with no A/C will approach 40 mpg. I own one and i have gotten as high as 37 mgp even in mountainous northern new mexico. The norm at 70 mph with the A/C blowing 32 mgp.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Once again Lithous right on the mark!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ment to say i got to drive one of the Georgetown Hybrids a few weeks before they came out.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Rob,
      Yes, body kits can make a noticeable difference on most cars.... But on some, it's like putting a tutu and slippers on an elephant. Yeah, looks better than stock, but it's still an elephant... ;-)
      Just my opinion...

      Now, I've seen some pretty nice mods done on that 94-98 body style. Mostly aftermarket, but I don't see the same type of stuff offered for the new model.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The next generation hybrids coming out in 2-3 years will be plug-ins. Once we convert to them, people will only need gasoline for long trips -- they'll use electric for commuting and errands.

      Buy stock in coal companies NOW!
      • 8 Years Ago
      actually corey, i do think the body kit makes the Camry SE look better. just like it usually does the trick for most other cars (including the malibu SS) it also does the same for the camry.
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