Toyota Corolla: 50 years of history

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The world's most popular vehicle, the Toyota Corolla, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The first Toyota Corolla was introduced in Japan in 1966. Available with two different body styles, a two-door and four-door sedan and a two-door station wagon, it was designed to be a “people's car”, while offering high build quality and generous equipment, with features that were only used to being seen. in upper segments.

Thus, it had a gear lever mounted on the ground, something exceptional at the time. The front seats provided padded, reinforced support for the occupants, while the rear bench offered so much space and comfort that it was compared to a sofa in a living room. Although the vehicle was classified as a compact, the high ceiling height gave a great sense of spaciousness inside.

Inspired by the Latin word for "flower crown," the name "Corolla" was chosen in the hope that the vehicle would flourish in the automotive market. And that's precisely what it did: Within three years, the first-generation Corolla became the best-selling vehicle in Japan, and its popularity soon spread to other countries around the world.

Deep analysis and incorporation of customer feedback have always been an integral part of the development of each new generation of Corolla. As a result, Toyota has reinforced the philosophy behind the creation of the first Corolla - a vehicle of superior quality, durability and reliability - with the determination to exceed those expectations in all the key areas highlighted by users.

The result is the new 2016 Corolla, a vehicle that clearly inherits 50 years of Corolla DNA, continues to evolve and has been designed to meet the diverse needs of customers around the world. It features a prestigious exterior design, paying particular attention to perceived quality, a spacious interior, and superior levels of technological and safety equipment.

1st GENERATION (1966-1970)
In 1966 the Corolla, or the "flower crown", was born. Led by Tatsuo Hasegawa, Head of Development, the Corolla designers set out to captivate the hearts of the general public. The guiding principle of the program was to create a sporty Corolla, both by looks and driving feel. This revolutionary new vehicle was offered in various body styles and adopted numerous innovative technologies never before seen in the Japanese market, such as the MacPherson suspension or the four-speed transmission. The model range consisted of a two-door sedan, a four-door sedan and a two-door station wagon.

2-generation

2st GENERATION (1970-1974)
With production of the first generation Corolla drawing to a close, engineers and designers faced the challenge of reissuing the success of the first model with its successor. In the year the one millionth Corolla was made, the new model was designed to be "a completely revamped Corolla." The exterior design evolved with gently curved surface lines, while a larger leaf spring rear suspension under the chassis improved ride comfort and handling. In 1972, the range was expanded to four body types, with the launch of a coupe. With its renowned 2T-G engine, the Corolla Levin turned out to be the favorite among sports car enthusiasts.

3-generation

3st GENERATION (1974-1979)
The year 1974 turned out to be difficult for the Corolla. Strict emissions regulations forced the engine and exhaust system to be redesigned in order to market the new model. As a result, Toyota spearheaded the development of catalytic converters, which are still used today. This cleaner and more efficient Corolla also benefited from another technological innovation - the wind tunnel - and the results were seen in the exterior design to cut through the air more efficiently. Inside, quality and ergonomics improved, and the Corolla was perceived as a vehicle in a higher price bracket.

4-generation

4st GENERATION (1979-1983)
In 1979, after going through another oil crisis, the Japanese economy seems to find the path of recovery. With that renewed optimism, the fourth generation Corolla jumped onto the world stage. It had been rethought as a luxurious yet economical family vehicle, with superior performance that met the diverse needs of users. In a context where aerodynamics played a larger role in vehicle design, the new Corolla was tuned for more than 400 hours in the wind tunnel. To avoid a radical break with a design and conception that had an increasingly faithful hobby, the Corolla evolved within continuity, with sharp lines on a more boxy style. Underbody, comfort and stability were improved with a new four-link coil suspension and, to meet environmental pressures, a new 1.8-liter diesel engine was introduced.

5.1.2

5st GENERATION (1983-1987)
In his role as Head of Development, Fumio Agetsuma set out to make the fifth generation Corolla as innovative as possible, incorporating innovations in every way, just as the original Corolla did. This new model was the first to be created with the help of a computer, saving time and resources in engine and exterior design. With its sloping front end and rounded wedge shape, the new vehicle would be the first in the series to feature front-wheel drive, a challenge for the engineers.

The rear-wheel drive coupe models emphasized sporty driving characteristics through a 1.5 or 1.6-liter engine, both mounted longitudinally. This last variant, commonly known as the Hachi-Roku, or 'eight-six' in Japanese, referring to the chassis code (AE86), was the last front-engined, rear-wheel drive Corolla. Its many successes on racetracks and rallies, not to mention its prominent role in popularizing the sport of drifting, made this model one of the most beloved and iconic vehicles in modern Toyota history.

5.1.2

6st GENERATION (1987-1991)
In 1987, the key word in the development of the new Corolla was quality: both in the sensations that the vehicle conveyed and in the way it would make its owners feel. For the engineers, it was essential that this new vehicle not only satisfied its owners, but that it captivated them with higher quality. More than 2.000 enhancements were proposed to more than 100 component manufacturers to enhance vehicle performance, from reducing noise levels to introducing soft-touch materials on the dashboard and keypads. It would be the highest quality Corolla to date.

5.1.2

7st GENERATION (1991-1995)
1991 saw the launch of the seventh generation Corolla. Developed to seduce with its charisma and personality around three main themes: design style, driving performance and safety and reliability. Paying particular attention to small but important details and providing ample space for the entire family, engineers set out to create a vehicle that would provide greater owner satisfaction and more memories of quality Corolla family moments.

5.1.2

8st GENERATION (1995-2000)
1995 was a time of environmental and economic rethinks, also for the eighth-generation Corolla developers. With a sluggish economy in their home country, the development team set out to create a new vehicle that would meet consumer demands - that would reduce the impact on the planet, and would be more efficient and cheaper to buy and maintain. And they achieved just that: a vehicle that transcended generations and nationalities and evolved to become the best-seller in Japan, reducing the total cost of maintenance and offering users more safety, silence and quality.

9-generation

9st GENERATION (2000-2006)
The year 2000 brought with it the launch of the XNUMXth generation Corolla and a design created for the first time in Europe. This new model, whose mission was to break with the past and set the bar for the XNUMXst century, was designed from scratch with the aim of being affordable. In addition to ease of use and reliability, its main features were high levels of interior finishes and comfort, which rivaled higher segments.

10-generation

10st GENERATION (2006-2013)
With the launch of the XNUMXth generation came a new design direction. Developer Soichiro Okudaira wanted the new Corolla to have a truly global perspective and scale. Dynamic performance was up there with the best in Europe, while ease of use and space were enhanced for the North American market. For this development, the engineers were guided by the rule of printing in five minutes, whereby customers would appreciate the quality of this new model within the first five minutes of driving.

11-generation

11TH GENERATION (2013)
The year 2013 brought the 44th generation Corolla to the world amid great anticipation as the Toyota model celebrated the title of 'World's Best-Selling Vehicle'. With more than 50 million Corollas sold in more than XNUMX years, the launch of this latest model introduced a prestigious new exterior style, with a particular emphasis on perceived quality and superior levels of safety and technological equipment. The icon has been consolidated to endure in the future.

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Automundo

Automundo is the blog about news from the automotive industry, motorsport and the culture of the region. Director: Diego Durruty.

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