Corolla, Toyota's car for the masses, turns 50

Fri Nov 4, 2016 11:16pm EDT
 
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TOKYO (Reuters) - This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the Toyota Corolla, one of the world's best-selling cars.

Since the first model went on sale in Japan on Nov. 5, 1966, some 44.3 million Corollas have been sold globally through the end of September, including the Corolla Fielder station wagon and other variants, the Japanese automaker says.

Here are some milestones along the way and where it stands today.

 

CAR FOR THE MASSES

In the late 1950s, as Japan's economy recovered from World War Two, automakers aimed to produce an affordable car for the average family, most of whom didn't have a vehicle.

Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote) first came out with the Publica, which wasn't very well received. In 1966, it introduced the sportier two-door Corolla with a jaw-dropping plan: to build 30,000 of them a month at a time when Toyota's total monthly production was 50,000 vehicles.

The car sold well as Japanese consumers aspired to get the "3 C's" – color TVs, cars and coolers (air conditioners). Three years after the launch, the Corolla became the country's top-selling car and helped usher in an age of motorization in Japan.

    Continued...

 
Toyota Motor Corp's first generation model of Corolla car is seen in this undated handout  image and released by Toyota Motor Corporation, obtained by Reuters on November 4, 2016. Toyota Motor Corporation /Handout via Reuters