Australia will begin production on it's first locally produced hybrid vehicle ever as they kick off the pilot production of the Toyota Camry Hybrid at the automaker's assembly plant in Melbourne.

Toyota will begin with a pilot production of the vehicle in Melbourne as a way to test the process, assembly methods, and part's quality at the facility before the start of full scale production scheduled for December of this year.  If all goes as planned, the Camry Hybrid will go on sale in Australia by February of next year.

According to Toyota Australia CEO and President Max Yasuda, "Introducing hybrid technology to Toyota's local manufacturing is one of the most significant development's in the company's 50 year history in Australia.  This has the potential to change the automotive landscape forever."

The plant in Melbourne will become one of only five plants worldwide that produce hybrid vehicles for Toyota.  After full scale production is reached, the plant will produce 10,000 Camry Hybrids for the Australian market and an additional 300 marked for export to neighboring New Zealand.

Yasuda said, "The support of the parent company in Japan is a great vote of confidence in the ability of the Australian subsidiary.  It demonstrates our manufacturing operations can compete with the best in the world."

Australia officially has three local automakers.  They include GM Holden LTD., Ford Motor Company of Australia LTD, and Toyota Motor Corp Australia LTD.  Toyota will become the only one to produce a locally built hybrid giving Australian citizens a choice of buying a locally built hybrid if they are in the market for one.

Federal Industry Minister Kim Carr said, "It will give drivers an Australian built choice if they are in the market for a hybrid.  It is great to see growth and innovation.  Not just at Toyota but across the Australian automotive industry in spite of the global recession."

Source:  Wards Auto (Login required)