Toyota Introduces a Breathtaking New Corolla

by : Mark Clarkson

Toyota Motor Corp. has recently introduced Corolla, the first new version of its best-selling compact van sedan which has been stricken off its lineup since 2001. Since then, the automaker has not produced said car model. However, lately, the automaker has been busy modifying Toyota Corolla parts in order to pave way for a high-performance sedan than can serve as a mighty rival to other vehicles in same category. The latest Corolla will be introduced in the United States in the year 2008 by Toyota's president, Katsuaki Watanabe.

According to automotive analysts, Toyota is moving closer to overtaking the world's largest automaker General Motors Corp. In its aim to move a notch higher, Toyota is releasing a thrilling new Corolla that can efficiently compete with Honda Civic and Nissan Tiida Latio. ''The Corolla will obviously put pressure on the Tiida and the Civic,'' says Ashvin Chotai, London-based automotive analyst for Global Insight Inc.

"The Corolla is basically Toyota's bread and butter. The automaker's success is led by models such as the Corolla," says Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager at Chiba-gin Asset Management Co. Said company controls assets amounting to about $365 million.

Toyota Corolla, which was launched in 1966, accounted for 19 percent of the automaker's sales in the previous year. It was also reported by the automaker that the figure was increased by 8 percent to 1.39 million units in 2005. It is quite comparable with Toyota Prius hybrid which yielded a total of 175,000 sales. Nowadays, Toyota expects to sell 12,000 Corollas a month in Japan.

"Toyota's Corolla has a major impact on its profits and volume,'' says Yasuhiro Matsumoto, senior analyst at Shinsei Securities Co. "There's no way that demand for Japanese fuel- efficient vehicles will deteriorate, especially in North America,'' he further added. Matsumoto estimates that automaker's profit margin is approximately 300,000 yen ($2,540) for the Corolla.

Toyota will sell two versions of Corolla in Japan. The first version is a sedan called Corolla Axio and the second will be a station wagon dubbed as Corolla Fielder.