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Toyota Corolla Continues to Be the World’s Best-Selling Nameplate

Introduced in 1966 in its domestic market of Japan, little did Toyota know that the Corolla would become its best-selling model. On its 50th anniversary, the Corolla still revels in its success, having sold more than 44 million units worldwide.
Toyota Corolla 21 photos
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To date, the Corolla was sold in 150 countries or thereabout, making for a significant part of this big blue planet we call Earth. Manufactured in 16 plants all across the globe, Corolla production accounts for one in every five vehicles sold by the Japanese automaker during its 79-year history.

For all intents and purposes, the Corolla was designed as the Japanese counterpart of the Volkswagen Beetle. The “people’s car” of Japan, however, would become an international sensation once it set foot on foreign soil. This happened for an exceptionally simple reason: reliability. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, the Corolla had shown European and American automakers that a cheap car can also be dependable.

Currently at its eleventh generation, the Corolla story continues while the competition has stepped up its game, both in terms of reliability and affordability. While not as evocative or as pretty as the Volkswagen Beetle, the Toyota Corolla is a great example of consumerist culture done right. But while the original Beetle had remained largely unchanged over the entire course of its lifecycle, Toyota had continually developed the Corolla into a better machine.

Another reason why the Corolla cut the mustard better than the Beetle is region-specific production. Even today, the North American and the European variants of the Corolla have little to do with each other, both from a mechanical and from a design standpoint. The first generation Corolla, on the other hand, was developed with the needs of three countries in mind: Japan, the United States of America, and Australia.

The first time the Toyota Corolla was officially recognized as the world’s best-selling car was in 1997 when cumulative sales reached 22.65 million vehicles. By comparison, the Beetle had managed to sell almost 21.53 million units from 1938 to 2003.

 
 
 
 
 

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