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Toyota Corolla coming from Auris


It will look almost exactly the same as the Corolla concept car which has just been previewed at the Paris motor show, billed as the Auris.

Other cars in Paris were more advanced and more outrageous, but the Corolla is the one with the greatest global impact and Toyota upstaged the stunning concept cars from rival brands with the single most important newcomer of the entire show.

The Corolla is so important to Toyota that all official images of the car were held back until after it was revealed in Paris overnight.

Our artist's impression is close to the final car and gives a clear indication of Toyota's styling direction, which has evolved from the baby Yaris and was tweaked after Honda set a new standard for the compact class with its latest Civic.

The Corolla is the best-selling car ever, after passing both the T-Model Ford and Volkswagen Beetle, and still shows no sign of ending its run. It is vital to Toyota Australia, as it is the company's top seller and has even managed to top the Ford Falcon in two months this year.

"Our normal policy is not to comment on concept cars," says Toyota Australia spokesman Mike Breen. "But the next-generation Corolla is a very important car for Toyota and Australia in particular."

Breen confirmed that the Auris would become the new Corolla hatch but could not give a showroom date. The new name will be used on the cars sold in Europe but Australia will stay with Corolla.

"The new Corolla will be here in the middle of next year," Breen says. "We don't have any firm date yet."

The car is the 10th generation with the same name and comes just after the Corolla nameplate celebrated its 40th birthday.

It was shown in Paris as a hatch and with some body trickery, mostly spoilers and 19-inch alloy wheels, but the basics are no different from the way the car will look in showrooms.

There will also be a sedan and wagon, but the styling of the sedan will be different from the new hatch, just as Toyota has distanced its Yaris sedan and hatch to draw different groups of customers to each of the baby cars.

The road-ready Corolla will be unveiled in Tokyo next month but the exact plans for Australia are still being finalised.

They include an assault on the Australian Rally Championship which has just been won for the first time by Neal Bates and his Canberra-based Corolla crew.

"We will get the sedan and hatch simultaneously," Breen says. "There will be a wagon variant in Japan but we won't be taking it in Australia."

The biggest mechanical change for the newcomer is the engine.

"It is still a 1.8-litre four, but it is a new generation of engine, with more power and technology," Breen says.

The Corolla sold in Australia is built in Japan and that will be

the same for the newcomer, after an unsuccessful experiment in South African sourcing for the Sportivo and hatches.

It's too early to determine price, Breen says, other than to say it will be competitive.

The Auris space concept is tall and roomy. The high waistline, short overhangs and forward balance of the cabin architecture ensure it retains a sense of dynamism.

"We call this perfect imbalance," says Toyota's managing officer of global design Wahei Hirai.

He says the car has an energetic look and a strong face. It was shown in Paris with gold bodywork (the Auris name comes from the Latin for gold) and 19-inch alloy wheels, spoilers and chromed exhausts.