By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
Toyota unveiled its next-generation Corolla on Thursday, and the Japanese automaker hopes to reestablish its dominance in the compact-car segment.
With nearly 40 million in sales since it was first introduced in 1966, the Corolla is the world’s best-selling car.
But now in its fifth and final year of its current production cycle, the Corolla has faced stiff competition from newer models from Honda, Chevy, Ford, Nissan and other automakers.
In North America, the Corolla is built in Blue Springs and in Canada, and production of the 11th-generation Corolla will begin at both locations this fall.
The current Corolla continues to be Toyota’s second-best selling vehicle in the U.S., behind the mid-sized Camry.
While Toyota dealers got their first look at the car earlier this year, the new Corolla was unveiled to the public for the first time on Thursday by Toyota Motor Sales, the Japanese automaker’s sales and marketing arm.
It made it’s world debut in California, where TMS is based.
The new model is more sculpted than the previous generation, and also features Toyota’s new front design theme. Auto Week said it looks like a baby Avalon, the automaker’s full-sized sedan.
Northeast Mississippi Toyota dealers who got a sneak peek at the vehicle earlier this year were impressed.
“It’s a game-changer,” said Larry Brymer, general manager of Carlock Toyota in Tupelo. “The Camry has been the bread-and-butter for Toyota, and if there’s anything that could be the same thing it’s the new Corolla.”
Terry Gramling, general manager of Oxford Toyota, called the new Corolla “phenomenal.”
He said the new body style makes it stand out from the rest of its competitors.
“The current Corolla still sells well; we sell them every day,” he said. “One of the biggest things that helps it sell is that it’s made in our backyard, and the new model will be built here, too.”