In an interview with Automotive News, Koei Saga, the man in charge of Toyota's drivetrain development, said that for the eighth generation Camry the company may "replace a six-cylinder with a four-cylinder plus turbo plus direct injection [because] compared to a V6, we think this solution will be less costly".
Whether this idea comes to fruition depends on whether the marketing and management teams at Toyota US think that customers there are ready for a downsized, turbocharged engine instead of a six-cylinder motor.
Out of its family car competitors, only the Ford Fusion is fitted exclusively with four-cylinder engines. The Fusion, which will be sold in Australia as the Mondeo from 2015, is available in the States with 1.5- and 2.0-litre turbocharged motors, as well as 2.0- and 2.5-litre non-turbocharged engines.
The Japanese giant is currently working on a new generation of engines to complement the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) that will underpin much of its range in the coming years.
Toyota's seven main engine families will be overhauled, with the company hoping to improve fuel economy by 30 per cent and, through rigorous standardisation of components, cut costs by up to 50 per cent.
Technologies that will be used on base-level engines will include Atkinson-cycle combustion (until recently used exclusively in hybrid drivetrains), improved variable valve timing and higher compression ratios. Forced induction, direct injection, exhaust gas recirculation and automatic engine stop/start will be used on higher-level variants.
TNGA will debut underneath the fourth generation Prius that will be revealed in the latter portion of 2015. TNGA will also underpin the next generation Camry, which is likely to hit showrooms worldwide from 2017 and will replace the locally-built model.
During his interview with Automotive News, Saga also spoke candidly about the next generation Prius and its drivetrain options.
Unlike the rest of the world, the seventh generation Camry is sold here exclusively with four-cylinder engines, with the V6 version badged as the Aurion (above) and dressed in the more conservative clothes of the Asian and Russian Camry.