TOYOTA Motor Corp. (TMC) last week announced that cumulative global sales of the Toyota Corolla have surpassed 40 million in July, reaching 40.01 million units. This milestone marks another historic achievement for the Corolla, which in 1997 has become the bestselling nameplate in the world, toppling the VW Beetle.
In November 1966, Toyota opened a new plant in Takaoka, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, dedicated solely to Corolla production. Two years later, with an emphasis on providing region-specific vehicles, production began in Australia and Malaysia. From 1965 to 1968, Toyota more than doubled its total annual production from 480,000 to 1.1 million vehicles—a testament to the Corolla’s significant contribution to the growth of the company, TMC said.
The Corolla, currently produced at 15 plants worldwide, accounts for one in five vehicles sold in Toyota’s 76-year history.
TMC said it first exported the Corolla to North America in 1968, and early sales success in this market helped global cumulative sales of the car to reach one million units in just four years after its launch. In 1997, the Corolla became the world’s best-selling nameplate, with global cumulative sales exceeding 22.65 million units.
More than a million units have been sold each year since 2002; last year, a total of 3,180 Corollas were sold every day across more than 150 countries and regions.
Marking the milestone, Corolla Chief Engineer Shinichi Yasui said; “I feel this car has been nurtured by people all over the world and I am very proud to have contributed to its foundation and grateful to all those who have owned and loved their Corollas. The key to the Corolla’s success is the faithful passing down of its original development concept from Tatsuo Hasegawa—that the Corolla must bring happiness and well-being to people around the world.”
According to TMC, the Corolla was originally designed to meet the changing needs of Japanese commuters in the mid-1960s. Then-chief engineer Tatsuo Hasegawa recognized that with Japan’s industry expanding, most consumers’ daily commuting time was increasing. The need to get around in a personal vehicle was therefore growing and this insight led Hasegawa to conceptualize the first Corolla, with his guiding principles defining the vehicle ever since—always evolving and designed to meet consumer needs in each market.
When the first Corolla rolled off the production line, many basic safety features were still optional. Later, to meet the needs of families, TMC said it decided to include many of these features as standard. Toyota’s commitment to pursue higher and higher levels of quality and continue adding new standard features to the affordably priced Corolla has helped ensure that families around the world continue to choose it more than any other nameplate.
The history of the ever-evolving Corolla, filled with examples of technology and quality improvement, is emblematic of Toyota’s efforts to anticipate customer needs and provide ever-better cars, TMC said.