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New Toyota Corolla for Sydney motor show

Still strong: Despite its age, the current Corolla remains the second-best-selling car in Australia for this year.

Toyota Australia to publically debut new Corolla at Sydney motor show in October

23 May 2012

TOYOTA Australia has confirmed the next-generation Corolla will make its public debut in hatch form at the Sydney motor show in October this year ahead of its arrival in local showrooms later in the fourth quarter.

Hot on its heels will be a new-generation RAV4 compact SUV, which will arrive in Australia in the first quarter of 2013, replacing the current model that dates back to 2007.

The new Corolla will give Toyota fresh ammunition to target a host of forthcoming or recently introduced rivals in the small-car segment – Australia’s largest by some margin.

These include the new, second-generation Hyundai i30 due for local release later this month, as well as the reborn Nissan Pulsar, which will have a staggered local launch commencing with the sedan variant at the start of 2013.

Not much is known about the new eleventh-generation Corolla hatch, which is expected to emerge overseas within months, and no firm release date has yet been confirmed for the Corolla sedan.

Images of a new Corolla emerged last week as the Axio, but this is a Japan-only model and does not reflect the Australian version.

While a hybrid powertrain is a chance to be offered overseas – part of Toyota’s commitment to offer a petrol-electric variant in all model lines by next decade – it is unclear whether it would be engineered for right-hand drive markets like Australia.

Toyota Australia corporate manager, product planning division, Greg Gardner told GoAuto that any hybrid model that could be engineered for Australia would be considered by the car-maker’s local arm, although there are no new hybrid lines confirmed for local release beyond the newly-launched Prius V.

8 center imageFrom top: Toyota Axio sedan and Fielder wagon RAV4 SUV.

The new Corolla looks set to again be sourced from Japan, since Toyota’s current manufacturing operations in Thailand – which build the top-selling HiLux for Australia – are running at capacity.

Mr Gardner said Thai production for models such as the Corolla remains off the table unless Toyota boosts manufacturing capacity in that country.

By the time the Corolla launches, several key rivals including the Ford Focus and Honda Civic will be Thai-built, providing a cost advantage in the Australian market due to a free-trade agreement and geographic proximity.

Despite dating back to 2007, the new Corolla is the second-best-selling car in Australia to the end of April with 12,067 sales, trailing only the Mazda3 (14,601).

Meanwhile, Toyota has added weight to reports that the new RAV4 will, for the first time, be offered Down Under with a diesel powertrain, likely replacing the 200kW V6 petrol as the new flagship engine.

While Mr Gardner stopped short of confirming that the new RAV4 would have an oil-burning option, he told GoAuto that "you can't ignore the diesel market".

The new RAV4 will arrive several months after another popular Japanese compact SUV – the Honda CR-V – which, like the RAV4, will for the first time be offered with a diesel option (due to arrive early 2013, several months after the petrol).

The current RAV4 is the second-best-selling compact SUV in Australia this year with 4531 sales, behind the Nissan X-Trail (5123), although the last two months have seen both of these models beaten by the all-new Mazda CX-5.

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