Toyota hopes redesigned Corolla appeals to young and old buyers
TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. walks a fine line with the redesign of the 40-year-old Corolla, which went on sale last week in Japan.
The average age of Corolla buyers in Japan is over 60. Toyota wants to keep those loyal buyers and appeal to a new generation. It also needs to position the car between the entry-level Vitz, known as the Yaris in the United States and Europe, and the mid-sized Camry.
Keep the history-laden Corolla name but add another name in Japan to attract younger shoppers. The sedan is now the Corolla Axio. The station wagon is now the Corolla Fielder. "Corolla" is in a smaller type size.
Add a bit more hip and head room inside without letting the car grow longer, wider or taller.
Offer features that appeal to both young families and owners with aging joints.
To save neck-twisting, the Corolla is the second vehicle, after the Lexus LS 460, to get Toyota's latest intelligent parking-assist system. The option costs ¥105,000, or $879 at current exchange rates. A backup camera monitor is standard.
The Corolla also has a system that flips down the rear seats and seat backs for a flat cargo floor, with a single pull of a lever.
The United States won't get the redesigned Corolla until spring 2008. That will stretch the goal of Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe to release the Corolla in overseas markets within "a year and a few months" of the Japan debut. Insiders say the plain-vanilla styling offered in Japan can't compete against the Honda Civic in America.
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