This is the hatch on which rest Toyota's plans to be the world's most successful car maker. The Corolla, launched today in Japan under its Auris nameplate, is promoted as a "sleek, sporty new look for the latest generation of the world's best-selling car''.
It will be seen in Australia at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney. Toyota says though the Corolla models have historically come out of Japan, this is the first to originate in Europe.
It says that Toyota's focus on European buying preferences - which are broadly similar to Australian tastes - has "delivered edgier styling and a lower centre of gravity to further improve its dynamic performance''.
"The Euro-inspired exterior design combines smooth-flowing surfaces with sweeping character lines to provide the sense of agility expected in the small hatch segment,'' Toyota says. "The new Corolla also brings fresh interior treatments with clever packaging that liberates more space for occupants and their luggage.''
Australia gets only the most powerful engine on offer - a revised version of the existing 1.8-litre unit. Toyota promises more power but hasn't been specific about local specifications. The current engine delivers 100kW. Toyota Australia's executive director sales and marketing Matthew Callachor says buyers would continue to appreciate Toyota strengths of quality, durability, reliability, safety and fuel efficiency.
"The strong European influence on the new Corolla embraces the spirit of 'waku-doki' - a car that is fun to own and drive due to its sharp styling as well as its responsive acceleration, accurate steering, engaging drive and excellent ride comfort,'' Mr Callachor says. Australia was the first destination for Corolla exports (1967) and quickly established itself as Toyota's most popular model in this country.
Almost 1.2 million Corolla hatches and sedans have been sold here, representing one-fifth of all Toyota vehicles bought by Australians in the past 50 years. Of these, more than 666,000 or 56 per cent were built in Australia between 1967 and 1999. Corolla is now fully imported from Japan. Local Corolla sales last year totalled just over 36,000. Sales to the end of July this year are more than 20 per cent higher compared with the same period last year.