So I reiterate the question, are Ford and Holden really scared of Toyota's new almighty Aurion? Hell yes. It should be obvious to most people that buying a Ford Falcon or a Holden Commodore is like buying a your clothes from Lowes. Its boring, its uninspiring and it means you have absolutely no taste or sense of individualism whatsoever. Is the Aurion going to cure this? Probably not, but it goes a long way.
Holden had been pimping the Holden VE Commodore and WM Statesmen & Caprice range for some time before their release. The car that would change the Commodore's image as a boring, fleet car. Did it work? Not really, I admit, the SS Commodore and the HSV VE range of cars look a lot better than their predecessors, but then again, for the price of an SS Commodore, there is so much more choice.
So now enters the all the Toyota Aurion, powered by a 200kW engine and achieving a fuel economy of under 10L/100km (Commodore vs Aurion fuel consumption), on paper it seems like its the best car you can buy for your money. In reality? I can't say, we are working hard to get our hands on the Toyota Aurion for a test drive, that should happen soon, in the mean time, how are the guys at Ford and Holden going to combat the Aurion?
I mean how can you advertise against the Aurion? 200kw, 9.9L/100km fuel economy, and for once, it even looks good! Where does it fall? Its a front-wheel-drive. This isn't to say that it doesn't handle well or that its any less of a car compared to the falcon or commodore, but its different, and I am forever amazed as to why Toyota wont just bite the bullet and go rear-wheel-drive in order to create a truly better competitor to Ford and Holden.
Where else does the Toyota Aurion fall? Think about it, as a private buyer these days, when you go shopping for a family car, do you really wanna be just another Commodore or Falcon driver? Now if I extend that to, do you really wanna be a Toyota driver? How many people are willing to stand up and say yes to that? Why wouldn't you go for a Honda Accord or a Subaru Liberty or heck even a BMW? Money off course! Why waste money on a Honda, Subaru or BMW when I can get a cheap Ford, Holden and now Toyota.
Well my friends, you should read about the depreciation of Australian vehicles. Whilst you save a few thousand dollars to begin with, the value of your beloved Commodore or Falcon depreciates so much in the first few years that you would have really been better of with the Honda or Subaru. What about the Aurion? Hows does that fare when it comes to depreciation? No one really knows yet, but if we look at the Toyota Camry, a base model 2005 Toyota Camry Altise Sedan (4dr Man 5sp 2.4i) has dropped around $7,000 of its value in just a year! Off course you have to take account the introduction of the new Camry this year, but nonetheless its not good! If you think about, $7000 in a year works out to nearly $20/day in depreciation!
Will the Aurion be a success? Only time will tell. Will it scare Holden and Ford and cause them to rethink their family sedans? Most probably, but only to the extent of adding some more features and perhaps realizing that a V6 (or inline 6 for the falcon) matched a four-speed auto is not what the Australian public is after. Nevertheless but if I was hedging my bets, I would really hope that the Australian car buyers wake up and realize that there is so much more choice now than ever before! Give the non-traditional family car a chance, they will surprise you!