50th anniversary of Toyota Corolla
• Corolla is the world’s best-selling model
• More than 44 million units have been sold in 150 countries
• 50 years on, Corolla remains true to the model’s original DNA
2016 marks another great milestone for the Toyota Corolla, as the world’s most popular car celebrates its 50th anniversary.
The first Toyota Corolla was introduced to Japan in 1966. Available in two distinct body styles (two- and four-door saloon, and two-door estate), the Corolla was designed to be a “people’s car”, nevertheless it displayed superior build quality and was lavishly equipped with features that were normally only seen on higher segments.
It featured a floor-mounted gear lever that was remarkable at the time. Separate bucket-type seats provided firmly padded front occupant support, while the rear bench offered so much space and comfort that it was likened to a living room sofa. Although the car was classed as a compact vehicle, its elevated roof height made the interior feel exceptionally roomy.
Originating from the Latin term for ‘crown of flowers’, the name “Corolla” was chosen in the hope that the vehicle would bloom in the automotive market. And that’s exactly what it did: within three years the first generation Corolla became the top-selling vehicle in Japan, and sales quickly spread to other countries around the world.
In?depth analysis and the incorporation of customer feedback have been integral to the development of each new generation of Corolla. As a result, Toyota has built on the philosophy behind the creation of the first Corolla -a car of superior quality, durability and reliability (QDR)- with a determination to exceed customer expectations in every key area highlighted by their feedback.
The result is the new, 2016 Corolla – a car that clearly inherits 50 years of Corolla DNA in always evolving and being designed to meet the diverse needs of a global customer base. It features a prestigious exterior design, a strong focus on sensory quality, a roomy interior and higher levels of technology and safety equipment.
Above all, the new Corolla builds on the model’s legendary QDR with significantly enhanced quality in every aspect of its design and engineering, whilst still representing impressive value for money in every market around the world.
The 50 year history of the ever-evolving Corolla, filled with examples of technology and quality improvement, is emblematic of Toyota’s continued efforts to anticipate customer needs and build ever-better cars.
44 million units produced in 16 plants worldwide
In November 1966, Toyota opened a new plant in Takaoka, Aichi Prefecture, dedicated solely to Corolla production. Two years later, with an emphasis on providing region-specific vehicles, production began in Australia and Malaysia.From 1965 to 1968, Toyota more than doubled its total annual production from 480,000 to 1.1 million vehicles; a testament to the Corolla’s significant contribution to the growth of the company.
In Europe, the Corolla was introduced in April 1967. European production, at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey (TMMT) in Sakarya, Turkey, started with the 7th generation model in 1994, continued with the 8th and 9th generations, and then returned to TMMT with the 11th generation Corolla in 2013.
Corolla exports to North America began in 1968, and early sales success in this market helped global cumulative sales of the car reach 1 million units just four years after launch.
In 1997, the Corolla became the world’s best-selling model, with global cumulative sales exceeding 22.65 million units. By 2013, Corolla had already sold 40 million units around the world. Currently produced at 16 plants worldwide, more than 44 million units have been sold, making the Corolla account for one in five vehicles sold in Toyota’s 79-year history. More than a million units have been sold each year since 2002. Last year, a total of 3,670 Corollas were sold every day across more than 150 countries and regions.
1st Generation Corolla (1966-1970)
1966 saw the birth of the Corolla, or ‘Crown of flowers’. Led by development leader Tatsuo Hasegawa, the Corolla designers set out to capture the hearts of the general public. The leading principle in this programme was to create a Corolla that was sporty in both look and feel. This revolutionary new car was offered in a variety of body styles and adopted many new technologies not seen on the Japanese market before, such as MacPherson strut suspension and a four speed transmission. The model line-up consisted of a two-door saloon, four-door saloon and a two-door estate.
2nd Generation Corolla (1970-1974)
With production of the first generation Corolla coming to an end, the engineers and designers had the challenge of building on the success of this first model with its successor. In the year that the one millionth Corolla was built, this new model was designed to be an ‘all new Corolla’. Whilst the exterior styling evolved with gently curved surface lines, under the body a larger rear leaf suspension made advances in ride comfort and handling.In 1972, the line-up expanded to four body types with the launch of a coupe. With its renowned 2T-G engine, the Corolla Levin proved to be the sports car lover’s choice.
3rd Generation Corolla (1974-1979)
1974 proved to be a demanding year for the Corolla to be born into. Strict exhaust emission regulations meant that engine and exhaust systems had to be developed to clear the new model for sale. As a result, Toyota pioneered the development of the catalytic converters that are still being used today. This cleaner, more efficient Corolla also benefited from another modern advance -the wind tunnel- and the results from this influenced the exterior design to cut through the air more efficiently. Inside, interior quality and ergonomics improved with the Corolla feeling like a car from a higher price bracket.
4th Generation Corolla (1979-1983)
1979, and with another oil crisis behind it, the Japanese economy appears to be on the mend. With this renewed optimism came the fourth generation Corolla onto the world stage. It was re-imagined as a luxurious but economical family car with superior overall performance to meet diverse user needs. As aerodynamics played more of a part in vehicle design, the new Corolla would spend over 400 hours being honed in the wind tunnel. To avoid being a radical departure in design and feel for the increasingly loyal fan-base, the Corolla evolved seamlessly with sharp lines across a more squared-off style. Under the skin, comfort and stability improved with a new 4-link coil suspension and to satisfy environmental pressures a new 1.8 litre diesel was introduced.
5th Generation Corolla (1983-1987)
In his role as development leader Fumio Agetsuma set out to make the fifth generation Corolla as innovative a car as he could, saying that it should incorporate breakthroughs in every area as the original Corolla had done. This new model was the first to be engineered with the aid of computer, saving time and resources in the design of the engine and exterior. With its slanted nose and rounded wedge shape the new car would be the first in the series driving the front wheels, a real challenge for the engineers.Rear-wheel drive coupe models emphasised sporty driving characteristics by using either 1.5- or 1.6-litre engines, both mounted longitudinally. This latter variation, frequently known as the Hachi-Roku (or ‘eight-six’ in Japanese) in reference to its ‘AE86’ chassis code, was the last Corolla with a FR drivetrain. Its numerous race and rally successes, not to mention its lead role in popularising the sport of drifting, means this model has become one of the most cherished and iconic vehicles in Toyota’s modern history.
6th Generation Corolla (1987-1991)
1987 and the key word in the development of the new Corolla was ‘quality’: both in how the car felt and how it would make the owners feel. It was critical to the engineers that this new car didn’t just satisfy the owners but excited them with greater quality. Over 2,000 improvements were proposed with over 100 part manufacturers to make all areas of the car perform better, from reducing noise levels to introducing soft touch materials across the dashboard and switches. This would be the best quality Corolla so far.
7th Generation Corolla (1991-1995)
1991 witnessed the launch of the seventh generation Corolla. Developed to appeal with charisma and personality around three core themes: style in design, driving performance and safety and reliability. With a focus on the small details that matter and ample room for the family, the engineers at the time aimed to create a car that would provide deeper owner satisfaction and more memories of quality Corolla family moments.
8th Generation Corolla (1995-2000)
1995 was a time of environmental and economic considerations, not least for the developers of the eighth generation Corolla. With a sluggish economy in the home country, the development team set out to make a new car that consumers demanded: one that reduced the impact on the planet and was more efficient and cheaper to own and maintain. What they got was just that -a car that transcended generations and nationalities by evolving to become the number one selling car in Japan- reducing the total cost of ownership and providing them a safer, quieter and higher quality compact car.
9th Generation Corolla (2000-2006)
2000 brought with it the launch of the ninth generation Corolla and a design created in Europe for the first time. Tasked with breaking links with the past and setting standards for the 21st century, this new model was designed from scratch with affordability at its heart. Along with ease of use and reliability, a high level of interior finish and comfort to rival higher segments were its hallmarks.
10th Generation Corolla (2006-2013)
2006 saw a significant milestone in the story of the Corolla as it reached the 40th anniversary of sales beginning in Japan. With the tenth generation launch came a new design direction. The development leader for this model, Soichiro Okudaira, set out to make the new car a model with a truly global perspective and scale. Dynamic performance was benchmarked with the best in Europe, while ease of use and space had to measure up for the North American market. Through its development, the engineers worked to a five-minute impression rule, where customers would recognise the quality of this new model within five minutes of their first drive.
11th Generation Corolla (since 2013)
2013 brought the eleventh generation Corolla into the world with a bang as the Toyota model celebrated the title of the ‘world’s best-selling car’. With more than 44 million Corolla’s sold over 50 years, the launch of this latest model introduced a new prestigious exterior styling, a strong focus on sensory quality and higher levels of technology and safety equipment. The icon is set to live long into the future.