Toyota today took the covers of new sedan models in its Corolla series (known in China as ‘Corolla’ and ‘Levin’) in a world premiere at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition, which opened November 16.
Due to its role as a global manufacturer, Toyota has a twin-model strategy for the Chinese market. This means that the FAW-Toyota joint venture sells the Corolla while the GAC-Toyota joint venture sells the Levin (sister car to the Corolla Altis).
On the mechanical side of things, the new Corolla Altis is based on Toyota’s TNGA architecture. The Chinese car is equipped with a 1.2-litre turbo-petrol engine which develops 116hp, a 1.8-litre hybrid engine which produces 122hp and a 2.0-litre hybrid engine producing 180hp.
On the inside, the new car has received a major redesign with a completely new dashboard layout. The interior design is based on a Sensuous Minimalism concept (a design that is simple yet sensuously appealing), aptly incorporating a sleek instrument panel that conveys a comfortable spaciousness, and integrated functional parts, creating a refined elegance.
The new models deliver enhanced basic performance achieved by the GA-C platform, and include the Sporty model (in North America, China (Levin), Japan, and other countries/regions) with an active, energetic edge, and the Prestige model (in China (Corolla), Europe, and other countries/regions) sporting an exterior design that produces a striking, high-end appearance.
Sales in the United States and Europe are scheduled to start in mid-2019. The new models will gradually be rolled out in more than 150 countries and regions, including the start of sales of the new Corolla and Levin in China after mid-2019. In Japan, new sedan and wagon models, based on the Sporty model, will be optimised for Japanese customers and roads, with sales launch slated for within 2019.
"We have striven to design new models that are eye-catching, and fun to both ride in and drive. By enhancing not just the fun factors that are unique to cars, but ‘connectivity’ functions to create new value, I wanted to make this new model a car that enriches mobility for customers around the world," said Yoshiki Konishi, chief engineer of the models.
"I believe the Corolla series, with its millions of customers around the world, is a key touchstone model for gauging the success of Toyota's "making ever-better cars" philosophy carried out through TNGA. I am confident that customers will see that Toyota's car-making has changed significantly," he added.
Corolla: 46 million sold and counting
The Corolla is Toyota's all-time best-selling car series, with more than 46 million cars sold worldwide (including derivative models) since the first generation was released in Japan in 1966. With each new generation, the Corolla has evolved. New advanced features and functions have been introduced to suit the needs of the time, all the while inheriting its core DNA ― reliability and usability ― from the very first generation.
Hybrid models equipped with the latest hybrid technologies will be newly introduced in more than 90 countries and regions, playing a key role in the widespread adoption of electrified vehicles. The new models are also equipped with upgraded advanced safety features, in the form of the latest Toyota Safety Sense, with specifications and availability refined for each market, ensuring the Corolla contributes to the widespread use of safer cars.
The latest version of the Toyota Corolla Altis has been on sale in India since 2017, with a 140hp, 1.8-litre petrol engine and an 88hp, 1.4-litre diesel motor. The executive sedan, which is priced between Rs 16.27 lakh and 20.01 lakh for the petrol models and between 17.53 lakh and Rs 19.18 lakh for the diesels, sees competition in the form of the Skoda Octavia (Rs 15.99-25.75 lakh) and Hyundai Elantra (Rs 13.71-19.94 lakh) in our market. The new Honda Civic, which is scheduled to arrive next year, will also rival the Toyota.
The model for the Chinese market is the one that is likely to come to the Indian market (at least in terms of styling) as the new Corolla Altis.