De­bunk­ing the most com­mon old wives’ tales

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Front Page - Giles Chap­man

1 IT’S THE BEST-SELL­ING CAR OF ALL TIME More con­fu­sion has been spread by claims of the Corolla’s global dom­i­nance than al­most any other au­to­mo­tive mis­un­der­stand­ing. With more than 40 mil­lion Corolla-branded Toy­ota cars sold since the first was in­tro­duced, it is by some mea­sure the best­selling model name there’s ever been. But it doesn’t ap­proach the Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle, Ford Model T or Fiat 124/Lada for sales of a sin­gle de­sign. There have been 11 dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions of Corolla and, along the way, some fun­da­men­tal changes, such as a switch from rear- to front-wheel drive in 1983, as well as count­less dif­fer­ent body vari­a­tions. 2 THE COROLLA WAS A BIG HIT IN BRI­TAIN Cu­ri­ously, the UK was one of the very few ma­jor mar­kets around the world where the con­ven­tional, de­pend­able Corolla didn’t blaze a trail for Ja­panese fam­ily cars. In this coun­try, it was ac­tu­ally Dat­sun’s equiv­a­lent model, the Sunny 120Y, that put cars from the Far East on the map. In 1975, the 120Y grabbed the num­ber 10 spot on the best-sellers’ chart with 28,264 de­liv­ered – mak­ing Dat­sun the first for­eign mar­que ever to break into the an­nual UK rank­ings. Through­out the 1970s and ‘80s, no Toy­ota – not even the mighty Corolla – ever achieved such chart suc­cess here. 3 THE COROLLA NAME WAS AXED MANY YEARS AGO It was for some mar­kets, in­clud­ing the UK and the rest of Europe, where the mod­ern com­pact equiv­a­lent is the Auris. But the Corolla name sails on in Ja­pan and the USA, help­ing to keep the fam­ily car sub-brand unas­sail­able in its his­toric po­si­tion. The first Corolla of 1966 was care­fully plotted by Toy­ota to of­fer Volk­swa­gen stan­dards of build qual­ity in a fam­ily car as ut­terly con­ven­tional as a Ford Cortina. It was never meant to be fun to drive but of­fered light con­trols and ex­cel­lent stan­dard equip­ment. Not a bad car, just an un­ex­cit­ing one. Con­se­quently, sales took off, and the Toy­ota Corolla was the best-sell­ing car glob­ally for the year 1974.


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