Toyota ups the ante
THE world’s most popular car is feeling the heat locally. So Toyota Australia has sharpened pricing for its Corolla sedan as part of a refresh that includes more gear and the introduction of a new 2.0-litre engine in the range-topping Ultima.
The company’s senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner does not under-estimate the strength of Corolla’s rivals.
With the Mazda3 presently ahead of the Corolla in the small-car sales stakes by more than 1200 cars this year, Toyota is aiming to claw back its smallcar crown.
In the small-car segment Corolla sales are 10.6 per cent up year to date but are still being outpaced by the Mazda3, which is up 12 per cent.
Nor does Buttner write off the Holden Cruze or Hyundai i30, which is available with both petrol and diesel engines.
‘‘We don’t under-estimate our competition,’’ Buttner says.
‘‘However, with the improvements and spec upgrades the Corolla is still great value for money.
‘‘But I don’t like being No 2 in the segment.’’
Despite recent falls in the Australian dollar, the prices of five sedan models have dropped by between $260 and $400.
The sedan makes up 40 per cent of total Corolla sales.
The starter price for the Ascent sedan has been lopped by $400, to $20,990.
The range-topping Ultima sedan has risen $800, to $31,490, but it gains the bigger 102kW/189Nm 2.0-litre engine and more gear that includes Xenon headlights, a reversing camera and rear spoiler.
Apart from being more powerful it delivers 8 per cent more torque than the 1.8.
Buttner is happy with the Corolla 1. Mazda3 .. .. 2. Toyota Corolla .. 3. Hyundai i30 .. 4. Holden Cruze .. 5. Mitsubishi Lancer .. .. .. .. .. 16,155 14,933 13,588 11,416 10,129 range and hoses down any suggestions that a diesel could spice the range up.
Rather than a diesel, he said, he would love a hybrid in the Corolla lineup but was reluctant to put a timeframe on it.
‘‘There are a few things on the horizon,’’ Buttner says.
‘‘But we are comfortable where we are.
‘‘The 2.0-litre is a new engine for Corolla and it is a good thing.’’
All sedans have electronic stability control, while Conquest and Ultima models get seven airbags.
WORLDWIDE, more people bought a Corolla last year than any other car.
The global giant sold 908,661 Corollas to continue its reign as the world’s most popular car.
This was 127,500 sales, or 16.3 per cent more than its nearest rival.
FIGHTING BACK: There is a new 2.0-litre engine in the range-topping Ultima