50 years of the world’s most pop­u­lar car

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

NOVEM­BER marks the 50th an­niver­sary of the Toy­ota Corolla, one of the most en­dur­ing au­to­mo­tive name­plates in his­tory and thanks to 43 mil­lion sales and count­ing, the most pop­u­lar car of all time. To cel­e­brate this mile­stone, Toy­ota has un­veiled a lim­ited 50th An­niver­sary Spe­cial Edi­tion of the com­pact car for US cus­tomers that gets a unique paint fin­ish, a sharper in­te­rior and a host of ac­tive safety and crea­ture com­fort sys­tems as stan­dard.

Toy­ota jokes that the touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem, Blue­tooth hands-free smart­phone con­nec­tiv­ity and USB charg­ing points rep­re­sent a quan­tum leap from the AM ra­dio that came in the first Corol­las, but noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth.

As well as build qual­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity (achieved through keep­ing de­sign and 1,100cc pow­er­plant very, very sim­ple), what helped Ja­panese car mak­ers in gen­eral and Toy­ota in par­tic­u­lar stand out from Euro­pean and US com­peti­tors when they took their cars be­yond do­mes­tic bor­ders was stan­dard equip­ment.

Ev­ery­thing from AM ra­dios to cli­mate con­trol and power win­dows found their way into Toy­otas as stan­dard, at a time when some­one putting a de­posit down on a Ford would have to spec­ify the same equip­ment as op­tions.

This and the fact that the Corolla was built from the ground up to meet the new nu­clear fam­ily’s needs. Peo­ple mov­ing out to the Ja­panese sub­urbs and sud­denly in need of their first au­to­mo­bile found that the Corolla was a per­fect fit for their lives. Its seats were big­ger and more com­fort­able, it had a floor not col­umn mounted gear shift to make high­way driv­ing more re­lax­ing and it used McPher­son strut sus­pen­sion.

In this re­spect it is the Ja­panese Bee­tle – a true peo­ple’s car. How­ever, un­like the VW bug, which stayed stylis­ti­cally un­touched through­out its en­tire air­cooled life­time, Toy­ota has con­tin­u­ally up­dated and im­proved the Corolla. And as it is built in dif­fer­ent coun­tries around the world, in­clud­ing the US since 1968, it is also built to dif­fer­ent spec­i­fi­ca­tions. The Amer­i­can ver­sion is wider, han­dling is tuned for the Euro­pean mar­ket and so on.

How­ever, with ev­ery gen­er­a­tion of the model that has fol­lowed (it is now on gen­er­a­tion 11) the com­pany has kept fo­cus on what the typ­i­cal fam­ily needs from a car, even if it is now sell­ing to fam­i­lies glob­ally. Un­for­tu­nately, by cre­at­ing a car that is purely about tick­ing boxes, it is of­ten un­fairly de­rided as a white good – i.e. the au­to­mo­tive equiv­a­lent of a wash­ing ma­chine or fridge.

But that’s also the car’s great­est strength – it is and al­ways has been, above all, a must-have modern con­ve­nience. Ital­ian cars might have more pas­sion, Amer­i­can cars more flam­boy­ance, and Ger­man cars more pre­ci­sion, but very few are as re­li­able as a Toy­ota. – AFP Re­laxnews

The 1966 Toy­ota Corolla along­side its 2016 “de­scen­dent”.

The Toy­ota Corolla 50th An­niver­sary Spe­cial

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