Debunking the most common old wives’ tales
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.