It could be said that the success of a car is determined by its longevity. If it continues to sell over a number of years then the machine is something special. Some of the most enduring cars are the Volkswagen Beetle and Mini. The car that has the best selling nameplate of all time is the Toyota Corolla. It earned the distinction in 1997. Another milestone involved 40 million cars being sold across 11 generations as of 2013. We’re looking into the history of the Corolla.
Simplicity was at the heart of the Corolla design from day one. First introduced in 1966, the car had a unibody structure with front suspension. There wasn’t anything grand about the appearance as Toyota wanted to emphasise a reliable, practical machine. At the time, Toyota needed to work to overcome the image of Japanese cars being poorly manufactured.
The company’s efforts paid off as the Corolla started to sell in international markets. The second generation of the car proved to be more successful because of the updates it received. A new 1.2-litre OHV engine and automatic transmission was introduced. The interior also had more space, making the Corolla more comfortable.
The third generation came out in 1974 and featured a bigger design. It had a raised centre section that made it look rounder. The next restyling came in 1979, with the Corolla receiving a square edged design.
March towards modernity
In the 1980s, Toyota became involved with the emerging front-drive trend. They brought out the front-drive Corolla sedan in 1984. It came with a 1.6-litre SOHC engine that had been used in previous generations. In 1987, the E90 was introduced and it sported an aerodynamic design that was more sophisticated than models that had come before it.
The seventh generation, the E100, was redesigned to be larger and heavier. This demonstrated a shift towards modern engineering in the 1990s. The Corolla continued to be improved over time, with many sold in the UK.
What made the Corolla so successful was the design being constantly updated. Toyota was never content to rest on its laurels. The company adapted on a regular basis, turning the Corolla into one of the greatest cars of all time.
Image Credit: Autoweek