Toyota Hopes Corolla Changes Will Draw Younger Buyers

Detroit News

Toy­ota rolls out a new ver­sion of an old favorite, the 11th gen­er­a­tion Toy­ota Corol­la, with sporty changes the com­pa­ny hopes will appeal to youth­ful buy­ers.

Find out what fea­tures are on board the 2014 Toy­ota Corol­la.

The Toy­ota Corol­la, an aging, stodgy but reli­able econ­o­my car, is get­ting a rad­i­cal new look.

The world’s largest automak­er was rolling out a new ver­sion of the com­pact Thurs­day night at a splashy event in San­ta Mon­i­ca, Calif., hop­ing to shed the old version’s low-cost image and attract new, younger buy­ers to its brand.

The 2014 ver­sion, which goes on sale in the fall, is longer and sits low­er than the old car, with a sculpt­ed, ath­let­ic look that’s much clos­er to a sports car than the econobox it replaces. It also gets a new trans­mis­sion, sus­pen­sion and inte­ri­or that Toy­ota says will make the car qui­eter and more lux­u­ri­ous, with bet­ter han­dling than the cur­rent ver­sion. It’s the 11th gen­er­a­tion of a car that Toy­ota has been sell­ing world­wide since 1966.

“It’s a huge car for us. It helped real­ly iden­ti­fy the com­pa­ny and the brand and what we’re all about,” said Bill Fay, group vice pres­i­dent of the Toy­ota Divi­sion in the U.S. “We should appeal to a lit­tle younger buy­er and broad­en out the appeal of the car to more than what it is today.”

The car’s bold design is unusu­al for Toy­ota, which in the past changed its cars lit­tle with updates. But the new ver­sion is bad­ly need­ed by Toy­ota. The Corol­la, with a rep­u­ta­tion for ster­ling depend­abil­i­ty, is still America’s top-sell­ing com­pact. But deal­ers have had to cut its sell­ing price and offer big dis­counts to com­pete against sleek new ver­sions of the Hon­da Civic, Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra.

It’s the first update for the Corol­la in five years, but even with updates, the car’s looks real­ly haven’t changed much in the past decade. And dur­ing that time, com­peti­tors have been throw­ing mon­ey into their com­pacts, giv­ing them leather inte­ri­ors, touch-screen sys­tems, new trans­mis­sions and pow­er­ful yet effi­cient engines.

 

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