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New Corolla sedan to be Thai-made

Boot boost: Toyota will launch the new Corolla sedan in February, boosting its chances of maintaining top spot on the individual model sales charts.

Toyota to source new-generation Corolla sedan from Thailand, not Japan

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Toyota logo8 Jan 2014

TOYOTA Australia will source its new-generation Corolla sedan from Thailand rather than Japan, taking advantage of the more favourable trade conditions with the South East Asian nation.

Set for release in the middle of February – a few months earlier than projected – the new-generation three-box sedan version will arrive about 16 months after the hatch version. Toyota has been selling the previous-generation sedan concurrently with the newer hatch.

As reported this week, the Corolla range supplanted the Mazda3 as Australia’s top-selling new car in 2013. Mazda will launch the new-generation 3 later this month, making the new Corolla sedan a vital cog in Toyota’s desire to remain on top of the charts for a second year.

Souring the car from Thailand – where Toyota also makes the HiLux ute range – allows the company to capitalise on the Free Trade Agreement in place, as well as the comparatively cheap costs of production thanks partially to lower labour rates.

Thai-made cars snared around 20 per cent of the total Australian market in 2013 – almost double that of locally-made cars such as Toyota’s own Victorian-made Camry.

The Corolla hatch is sourced from Japan like its predecessor, and there is no option of importing it from Thailand since it isn't made there. The sedan will be built in 16 countries in total.

Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Tony Cramb says the Thai plant will produce cars to the same standards as its Japanese line, pointing to the robust reputation of its HiLux as proof positive.

Toyota revealed some detail on its newest Corolla model this morning ahead of next month’s launch, promising an extra 100mm of cabin space and a more premium dash design.

The sedan’s engine is expected to be the same as the one used in the hatch: a Euro 4, 1.8-litre normally aspirated petrol producing 103kW of power at 6400 rpm and 173Nm at 4000rpm.

In the hatch, power is sent through the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with a seven-speed sequential ‘Sport’ mode, replacing the old four-speed torque converter unit.

Cumulative worldwide Corolla sales exceed 40 million since the nameplate was launched in 1966, including more than 1.25 million in Australia - approximately one out of every five Toyota vehicles ever sold in this country.

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