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Auto blogThu, 18 Apr 2013 08:27:00 EST
According to a report from AutoGuide, Toyota doesn't have plans to replace the aging Matrix hatchback in the United States after this year. If true, the timing coincides with the replacement for the Corolla, on which the Matrix is based, with that car slated to get its first complete redesign since 2006 (2008 in the US market).
We'd love to tell you how many Matrix models were sold by Toyota in the United States last year, but the automaker chooses to bundle Matrix sales with Corolla sales, so we have no idea. That said, we have to assume sales of the hatchback don't contribute much overall to the total number of Corolla-based machines.
We're also unsure if Toyota will choose to exit the youth-oriented compact hatchback market entirely, or if the automaker will rely instead on its hybrid Prius line and Scion models like the xB and xD.
We weren't quite sure it was possible, but NASCAR driver Parker Kligerman and the other folks behind this Toyota Dream Build Challenge vehicle (check out the other cars in the challenge) have made the Camry, a versatile but vanilla family sedan, into a performance car to be reckoned with. And by stripping it (literally) of its versatility and injecting some spice into it, this rally-spec Camry does indeed appeal to the enthusiast crowd.
The appeal starts with the CamRally's vintage Toyota racing colors of red, orange and yellow painted on a widened body. Those wide fender flares and rocker panels, paired with the revised front and rear fascias (and massive rear spoiler), lend the car an aggressive look without being tacky, and enhance the aerodynamics. But peel back the skin and you'll find plenty of performance upgrades to back up the looks.
While Toyota doesn't say how much horsepower it makes, the CamRally's V6 is turbocharged, and we assume the car's brake upgrade is indicative of the engine's increased output. The stripped interior only contains what's needed for rally racing, including bucket seats, a motorsport steering wheel covered in Alcantara, a carbon-fiber dashboard and a roll cage.
Toyota posted a media advisory yesterday saying that Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota, and Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America, would be making a production announcement tomorrow in New York City, and Automotive News reports that the automaker will be announcing a plan to domestically produce the Lexus ES. According to the report, numerous plants are competing to build the ES in North America, and the State of Kentucky has offered the automaker up to $146.5 million to build the luxury sedan at the Georgetown, KY assembly plant.
If Georgetown gets the ES, which has been built in Japan since its debut in 1989, it would be built alongside the Toyota Camry, which is somewhat ironic since in our review of the 2013 Lexus ES350, we wrote that this ES finally says "goodbye to its Camry roots." In order to get the whole amount offered, the article states that Toyota would have to invest $531.2 million and hire 570 full-time workers at the plant, which doesn't sound all that unreasonable since the plant would require an additional 50,000 units of annual production, not to mention the fact that the Georgetown facility is already at its capacity for building the Camry.