Toyota won’t be Toyota without the Corolla. This classic family car is Toyota’s top-selling vehicle line and solidified the company’s reputation as a reliable automaker. Introduced in November of 1966, Toyota Corolla started the era of family cars with its simple and subcompact design. Its simplicity, small size, and affordable selling price captured the attention of many car enthusiasts during that time. These core qualities endeared the Corolla to the public and made it one of the most enduring brands in automotive history.
1966-1975: Toyota Corolla’s early years
The first Corolla hit the streets of Japan in 1966, and it reached the shores of the United States in 1968. It was built with a 90-inch wheelbase and was available in several body styles. The first-generation Corolla was by far the smallest and simplest Toyota ever sold in the U.S. during that time. The Corolla’s quality wasn’t compromised even with its small size and cheap price, so it became extremely popular among car enthusiasts who wanted better value for their money. Second-generation Corollas came with longer wheelbases and more powerful engines to address the concerns of some drivers who deemed the first generation as too small and underpowered. In 1975, all Corollas were equipped with catalytic converters to comply with stringent emissions standards. Aside from classic family cars, Toyota also added sporty vehicles to its lineup. The Liftback and the Sporty Coupe increased the overall sales of Corolla vehicles in the United States.
1997-2012: Toyota Corolla today
The succeeding generations of Toyota Corolla were upgraded and redesigned to fit the demands of the ever-changing North American market. Engine upgrades, modified transmission systems, and other advanced features were incorporated in the newer models. The Japanese automaker did its best to compete with other American-made vehicles and raised the bar for all other Asian makes. Mazda, Nissan, Honda, and Hyundai tried to compete and come up with models similar to the Corolla, including the Honda Civic and Nissan Sentra. But no other vehicle model can surpass the legacy of this classic family car. In 1997, the Corolla skyrocketed to the top and became the best-selling nameplate in the entire world, edging the equally popular VW Beetle out of the limelight. By this time, the Corolla is already a force to be reckoned with in the automotive industry. Over 39 million Corollas have been produced and sold worldwide.