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New Toyota Aurion: In Depth (AU)

Toyota's new flagship sedan for Australia

By Text & Photos edited by F. de Leeuw van Weenen Published: Oct 17th, 2006 9:42pm
Filed Under: Japanese, Toyota

Press Release

Toyota's new flagship sedan for Australia

Toyota Australia's new flagship sedan - the Aurion V6 - delivers on the unique demands of Australian large-car buyers. It has the most advanced and powerful engine ever offered in a Toyota vehicle in Australia - a new 3.5-litre Quad Cam V6. The engine develops 200kW of power at 6200rpm and 336Nm of torque at 4700rpm on regular unleaded petrol. It has ADR 81/01 fuel economy of just 9.9 litres of 95-octane unleaded fuel per 100km#. Power output rises to 204kW with 95-octane unleaded fuel. All grades of Aurion are fitted with a six-speed automatic sequential gearbox.

All Aurion grades are also equipped with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). Aurion is the only Australian-made big six to comply with Euro IV emissions. Aurion scores four stars on the Federal Government's Green Vehicle Guide - better than any of its six-cylinder rivals in the VFACTS large passenger category.

The Aurion V6 range starts at $34,990 (RRP*) - a price that includes the 200kW V6 engine, adaptive electronic six-speed automatic transmission, six SRS airbags, Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control and anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. Standard features also include air conditioning, power driver's seat, cruise control, power windows and mirrors, remote central locking, dual exhaust and security alarm.

Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing, David Buttner, said Aurion - built at the company's Altona manufacturing plant in Melbourne - defines Toyota's view of the future for Australian six-cylinder cars.

"Aurion is a value-for-money Aussie car that is better priced and better equipped than its major VFACTS large passenger car class competitors," Mr Buttner said. "It has more power than the naturally aspirated six-cylinder rivals in its class and better fuel economy than any of the large-six competitors in its class. Aurion has been developed for the benefit of Australian families and others who need a large six-cylinder car. It is styled for Australian tastes, tuned for Australian driving preferences, and has the power and comfort required for driving vast distances. At the same time, it is endowed with technology that ensures excellent fuel economy, with high levels of active and passive safety features as standard equipment on all models."

Aurion's V6 engine features dual VVT-i technology that varies the timing of both the inlet and exhaust valves, providing optimum power and economy. It is mated to an electronic six-speed automatic transmission with a sequential gearshift. The transmission uses artificial intelligence to adapt shift points to the driver's style and road conditions.

Aurion has been engineered to deliver the handling stability, steering response and ride comfort demanded by Australian large-car buyers. Toyota achieved these requirements by producing a car with a visually low-slung, wide-wheeled and aggressive stance. Building on the car's large footprint, Aurion features keep the car level during acceleration and braking. Two Sportivo models in the range feature sports suspension settings and a full body kit.

Aurion takes advantage of the packaging efficiency of its front-engine/front-wheel-drive design to achieve a virtually flat rear floor, providing ample space for three adult passengers in the rear. Noise insulation materials ensure the cabin is very quiet. Aurion is produced on Toyota's world-leading flexible manufacturing system at Altona, alongside four-cylinder Camry models. Both cars are built for the domestic and export markets.

#Fuel consumption will vary depending on driving conditions/style, vehicle conditions and options/accessories.
*Recommended retail price, unless otherwise stated, excludes dealer delivery, government and statutory charges, and optional extras

Aurion means innovation and style

Toyota's new flagship sedan is called Aurion - a name derived from the ancient Greek for "tomorrow" or "first light". While the name's origins are in antiquity, its meaning makes Aurion an ideal name for an innovative vehicle arriving in the Aussie big six segment.

Aurion was chosen after extensive research involving more than 30 other possible names. Consumers associated the name with style and innovation - a positioning that matched the car's design philosophy. Research among Australian International Motor Show patrons showed they associated the word Aurion with qualities such as futuristic (33 per cent), technology (17 per cent), innovation (17 per cent) and sophistication (13 per cent).

Aurion to reinvigorate the large car market

Toyota Australia's new Aurion V6 will play a key role in reinvigorating the Australian large-car market, according to senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner. Mr Buttner said Toyota expected the overall market to be strong in the fourth quarter of 2006 and into 2007, with the big-six segment making a significant contribution.

"The new Aurion, which goes on sale in early November, will stimulate the large-car sector because it will attract new buyers," Mr Buttner said. Aurion provides compelling reasons for existing large-six customers to stay in the segment and for former large-six customers to return. It is a serious contender - a modern alternative that will also take sales from the traditional large six-cylinder models."

Aurion is the latest entrant in a hectic few months of activity for the large-six market that will reinvigorate a segment which is important to Australia's domestic vehicle manufacturing industry. Mr Buttner said Aurion, built at the company's state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Melbourne's Altona, came at a critical time for the local industry. The large-car segment peaked at 211,791 sales in 2003, but its share of the total market has been in long-term decline.

"In 1996, passenger cars accounted for 75.7 per cent of the total new-vehicle market and large cars made up 43.4 per cent of those sales," Mr Buttner said. But, by 2005, passenger cars accounted for just 61.6 per cent of the market and large cars were just 27.5 per cent of that number. Last year, for the first time, the large-car segment wasn't the largest sector in our market."

Mr Buttner said the new Aurion will be successful because it addresses many of the reasons that have led people to move away from the current large-six offerings. He said Toyota's research showed the market for large six-cylinder cars is split into three distinct groups: the tribalists, the one-timers and the V6 solution seekers. "The tribalists love tradition and grunt: they've bought the same car for generations, largely determined by what their father bought - or which car won at Bathurst. They are a diminishing sub-segment, accounting for about 20 per cent of the market - and they will not consider alternatives."

Mr Buttner said the "one-timers", who account for about 40 per cent of the potential market, are there to be won by Toyota. "They are yet to be convinced that a large six is the car for them, and they're not convinced by the current offerings. They make decisions based on what they want right now. They're not loyal to any brand or model, so they're likely to switch the next time they buy a car."

He said a further 40 per cent segment of the potential market that is open to the Aurion V6 is what the researchers call 'six-cylinder solution seekers'. "These are people who need to be given strong reasons to stay in or come back to the large-car market and who will logically assess alternatives to the traditional participants. They're open to new ideas, they're looking for something different and they're tech-savvy. While they see value in an Australian-made product, they're not bound by it. They want a car that handles well, and they're also aware of petrol prices. They're looking for a solution - and we've developed the Aurion to deliver to their needs."