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Toyota Corolla sedan delayed

Soldier on: The current Toyota Corolla sedan will not be replaced until the end of 2013.

Old sedan will run with new hatch from October as Toyota staggers Corolla launch

Toyota logo8 Jun 2012

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

TOYOTA’S current Corolla sedan will remain on sale for up to 12 months after the launch of the next-generation hatchback version in October, as the two models are further differentiated to meet diverging global tastes.

Already one of the oldest models in its segment in Australia, the 2007-vintage three-box small-car stalwart will have to fend off formidable all-new versions of the Nissan Pulsar, Mitsubishi Lancer and Kia Cerato, let alone its established Mazda 3, Holden Cruze, Ford Focus, Subaru Impreza, Hyundai Elantra and Honda Civic sedan enemies.

And in a further setback for Toyota sedan fans, the existing three-box Yaris, which first appeared as the Belta in Japan in 2005, will not be replaced at all when production ceases sometime within the next two years.

Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the 86 sportscar in Canberra this week, Toyota Australia product planning division manager Greg Gardner revealed that Toyota’s light and small car emphasis would concentrate on growing its hatchback market share against the incessant tide of fresh rivals.

To that end, the 11th-generation Corolla hatch – expected to be coded as the 160 Series – will undergo a major redesign that moves away from the upright design of today’s style, for a lower-slung silhouette featuring sharper lines and more contemporary surfacing.

8 center imageLeft: Japanese Corolla Axio. Below: Corolla hatch.

It will be the second Toyota small car conceived primarily for European consumption as the Auris, and is set for a global unveiling at the Paris motor show in late September – just weeks before its local debut at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney on October 18.

The outgoing E150 Auris/Corolla hatch surfaced at the same French exposition exactly six years ago, but arrived in Australia at the same time as the E140 Corolla sedan in the middle of 2007.

Although the current Corolla hatch and sedan share no body or interior panels, it is speculated that their respective E160 series replacements will diverge even further this time around, as a result of different project chief engineers at the helm.

Mr Gardner also confirmed that the Axio sedan and its Fielder wagon counterpart unveiled in Japan last month, which wear the Corolla badge as a prefix, are altogether different, smaller and lighter vehicles designed and engineered for the Asian region with engines ranging from 1.3 to 1.8 litres.

It is believed that Toyota Australia will instead take the upcoming US/Canadian-market Corolla sedan, which boasts larger dimensions and a design that mirrors the squarer-cut stance of the new Camry.

“I understand that the car you are referring to is different to the next-generation Corolla sedan,” he said.

“The Corolla sedan for Australia will follow about a year after the hatch is launched later on in 2012.”

Meanwhile, with the Axio expected to take its place in Asian markets, the existing Yaris sedan will not be renewed in line with the XP130 hatch launched late last year in Australia.

With sales always at a fraction of those of its two-box counterpart since being released Down Under in 2006, it is unclear whether the Yaris sedan will eventually be replaced by another similarly sized vehicle in the Toyota range.

While a number of smaller, sub-B segment economy models exist within the Daihatsu as well as the Toyota ranges, none are fitted with all of the safety gear required to achieve a Euro NCAP five-star safety rating, precluding their sale in Australia.

“There are alternatives … but none achieve five stars … and we would be hounded for that,” Mr Gardner said.

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