By on August 6, 2014

2014_Toyota_Corolla_S, Picture Courtesy of Toyota

During a nine-year stretch between 2003 and 2011, the Toyota Corolla was consistently America’s best-selling small car.

For eight of those years, consecutively between 2003 and 2010, the Honda Civic was America’s second-best-selling small car.

Designs, architectures, and rivals changed, but the Corolla stayed on top.

Yet while sales of the Corolla jumped 21% in calendar year 2012 and sales of 2011′s second-ranked small car, the Chevrolet Cruze, increased 3%, sales of the Honda Civic shot up 44%. After this 2012 performance in which Civic sales rose above 300,000 units, Honda reported a further 6% increase in Civic volume in 2013. Even as the aging Corolla was replaced by a far less conservative car, the Corolla’s 4% increase to 302,180 units wasn’t nearly enough to catch the Civic.

After a two-year hiatus, however, Toyota USA appears poised to take back the small car sales crown. Through seven months, the Corolla has outsold the Civic by 7987 units. On a monthly basis, the Corolla has outsold the Civic in six of the last seven months, losing out only in June. Moreover, Corolla volume is increasing at a much sharper rate of late, climbing 24% over the last four months, a period in which Civic sales have grown only 6%, year-over-year.

Toyota won’t celebrate this victory too early. (The Camry’s consistent position atop the overall car category is of greater consequence, regardless.) The Corolla was 2013′s early small car sales leader, as well. At the halfway mark last year, the Corolla was a few hundred sales ahead of the Honda. One month later, the Civic was nearly 7700 units ahead of the Corolla.

U.S. small car sales chart July 2014 YTDTaken together, the Civic and Corolla, with steady assistance from the Nissan Sentra, have been the force powering the otherwise stagnant compact sector forward this year. Year-to-date sales of the Dodge Dart, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda 3, Mitsubishi Lancer, Volkswagen Golf, and Volkswagen Jetta have declined. Chevrolet Cruze sales, though healthy at the beginning of the year, have tumbled in each of the last two months. Kia Forte sales are up 5% in 2014, but that equals fewer than 2000 extra sales for the segment, and the Forte’s gains are more than offset by the loss of 15,492 sales by its Hyundai Elantra partner. WRX/STi aside, sales of the regular Subaru Impreza are up by only 1300 units.

Compact sales are up just 1% overall this year, yet Corolla/Civic/Sentra sales have risen 14%. Excluding the trio from the equation results in a decline of 6% for the compact class.

Mazda, meanwhile, sells but one 3 for every 3.3 Corollas. No, Mazda doesn’t have the same capacity for massive U.S. success, nor do Mazda dealers possess the kinds of inventory to challenge the dominant players. But if that isn’t a sign of what the market wants, what is? (The ratio was 2.4-to-1 just two years ago.)

Improvements aside, the latest Corolla is still far from the enthusiast’s favourite. Becoming more like the Corolla (and less appealing to enthusiast drivers) hasn’t hurt the Civic and Sentra, either. Nissan has already sold more Sentras in 2014 than in all of 2012. Unless the trend reverses itself, 2014 could end as the Civic’s first ever year above 340,000 units.

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96 Comments on “Corolla Getting Set To Retake Small Car Sales Crown...”


  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    At the risk of being laughed out of the forum, the Corolla appears to be not a bad looking car. Admittedly, the driving dynamics are not going to be to the right of the Bell curve, it is not something I’d be ashamed to have parked in my driveway.

    Now, Toyota, get to work on your Lexi…they’re fugly.

    • 0 avatar
      the passenger

      While I definitely think it’s much more attractive than the coma-inducing lump that it replaced, I still find its overall styling disagreeable, but I feel that way about Toyota styling in general.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I had one as a rental late last year. It’s not an enthusiast’s drive, but I certainly wouldn’t try to talk anyone out of getting one. Like you said, it’s decent looking, it’s roomy, handling is good enough and the ride quality is good as well. My only objection was that since it was CVT equipped, the engine was a little more intrusive under moderate acceleration than I’d like. If Toyota is going to install a CVT, they need to pay a little more attention to the NVH in the 4000 rpm range, since the engine will spend a certain amount of time there.

    • 0 avatar
      i__say__uuhhh

      There is really nothing wrong with these cars to me as well. Although I’m not a huge fan of the styling I can see why the masses keep buying it. It’s perfect for exactly what you need to do and it does it decently. They are extremely boring to drive (the last gen) and the steering is so numb that it makes freeway trips pretty frustrating, but it’s pretty quiet and soaks up the bumps and has a lot more room than my Mazda3.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      If they fixed the wheel gap and gave it some non-”Wheelguyz.com Clearance Sale” wheels, it would look a lot better.

      • 0 avatar
        tubacity

        Gap only a minor styling detail in my opinion. I prefer suspension travel in my cars and gap allows it. Also allows room for bigger wheels and tires if that is your wish. I see extremes in reduced gap cars daily. Some sit on their suspension stops at rest and I see their bodies quiver and shake as they crash and bang down the street. Bad for your spine. Lowered cars can be slower on regular streets because they are so uncomfortable. The significant other might not be impressed by bad ride.

    • 0 avatar
      billfrombuckhead

      Toyota’s future arch enemy will be Google. Might as well have a self driving car if you’re a TRDyota buyer.

  • avatar

    I prefer the Elantra to the Focus and Corolla.

    But that’s none of my business…

  • avatar
    calgarytek

    Honda screwed up when they ditched front double wishbones. They got back (sort of) with the 2006 to 2010 Civic. Then they managed to screw it up by adding unecessary creases, chrome, and cheap. I’m still disappointed with the fix.

    If the Civic looked like the ILX, weighed 2700 lbs, and had a 2.0 L DOHC VTEC Earthdreams motor, a 6 spd manual with an LSD, well, they’d be back at/near the top.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      “Honda screwed up when they ditched front double wishbones.”

      Struts aren’t inherently worse than double A-arms. Many sports cars use front struts.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Weight aside, the 8th gen Civic is Honda’s best FWD chassis by a healthy margin. The older cars have the DWBs, but that is cancelled out by the near complete lack of chassis rigidity. IIRC a stock FD2 Type R was faster around Tsukuba than a stock S2K and maybe even an older NSX. Can’t remember. Either way, Honda didn’t “screw up” when they ditched wishbones. Like others said plenty of high performance high precision cars use struts up front.

      • 0 avatar
        calgarytek

        @sportyaccordy:
        You do have a point. The DWB Civics seem like they need extra bracing here and there. I suppose you can put a few seam welds, though, at higher risk of cracking the chassis. The 8th gen was and still is an excellent chassis car. The DX coupe is 2600 Lbs. Changing steelies to alloys is a good place to start it’s new diet.

        But, plenty of high performance high precision cars with front struts are rear wheel drive. Remove ‘demand’ on the front wheels and you can get away with a lower control arm and an upper mount. Cue the BMW 3′s, Toyota GT86…

        On the flipside, if the front wheels have demands other than steering placed on them, I think I want the extra precision offered by an upper control arm, given that the front is tasked to do so much more.

        I saw that Best Motoring International video too where the stock FD2 driven by Tsuchiya did well. However, that’s a $25K to $30K car brand new. For about $10 to $15K, you can source a 5th generation Civic hatch, seam weld it, add bracing/carbon fibre, and then throw a K20 into it.

        I believe a similar set up did extremely well in Best Motoring’s American edition (first series), nearly beating a 400 HP WRX…

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    1. I’m surprised to see the Dart performing so poorly. When was it launched? It’s actually selling LESS than the Impreza, a car with somewhat limited sales potential due to it being more of a regional favorite in the snowy northern states because of its standard AWD.
    2. The Corolla has a fairly small 4% lead over the Civic. With the Cruze in a distant 3rd place, 1st place seems more or less up for grabs unless the Corolla’s rapid 1st-half sales growth continues.
    3. I don’t think the Corolla looks all that bad. Too bad they don’t turn out a sporty version of it. Their only current sports car – the FR-S – is just not practical.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      The “sporty” version is the Scion tC.

    • 0 avatar

      #1 chrysler screwed up by putting out the manuals first. When the Dart launched here in NY you couldn’t even find an automatic for a month or 2.

      #2 Chrysler should have had an SRT version by now. It’s coming, but it’s late.

      #3 Chrysler should have kept the name “NEON” (and “Sebring” for the 200)

      You can’t bury the past.

      Instead: put in AWD a SH!TLOAD of power and slap an inexpensive pricetag on it…

      Let your aggressive marketing campaign do the rest.

      There’s no reason a Dart SRT couldn’t be as terrifying as HELLCAT.

      • 0 avatar
        mjz

        The Dart launch was a unmitigating disaster. Launched with manual transmissions (which only 6% of cars are sold with) and feeble engine selections. Had a dizzying array of models/options/colors/packages. Marketed with a “performance” image that it couldn’t deliver on in a market segment that buys bland. Was pricey when optioned up. To Chrysler’s credit, they moved quickly to make the Dart more appealing. They added the 2.4 L engine to almost all trim lines. Cut the models and simplified the packaging so that they are now really good values. For instance the Dart GT ($20,995) and the Dart Limited ($22,995) are REALLY well equipped for those prices. The Dart is going to be revised for the 2016 model year, when they will restyle it, add the 9-speed auto and introduce the SRT version. In the meantime, I expect to see Dart sales steadily improve, now that the super discounted Avenger and old 200 are out of the picture. I think a lot of shoppers coming in to look at the new 200, might suffer sticker shock and decide the Dart is a good value. Wish they’d bring the hatchback version here though.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Not surprised on the Corolla, I’ve seen plenty of them around.

    How about a return of the XRS model with close to 200 hp? That would be the only Corolla that could quicken my pulse.

    • 0 avatar
      steevkay

      I’d agree with this; I found it surprising when I first found out there were XRS Corollas and Matrixes (Matrices?). I think every company should offer a more enthusiast-oriented version of their compact/subcompact model. Ford seems to have done well with the ST badging, Honda with the Si badging, VW with the famous GTI badge…

      Slap on a more agressive bodykit, a silly wing, and add a 200hp engine with appropriate handling tweaks (stiffer chassis, bigger brakes); that would be the first Corolla I’d be excited about since I found out about Initial D (which was only two years ago).

      On a similar note, Nissan needs to bring back the SE-R/Spec-V models for their Sentra. All their focus on fuel economy and CVTs is boring.

    • 0 avatar
      djsyndrome

      I miss my Matrix XRS. 8200 rpm through the Alameda tunnel was a recipe for great times (and surprised motorists).

  • avatar
    Zackman

    As much as I don’t want to like Toyota, I was very impressed when I checked out the new Corolla at our recent auto show. It’s as large as a 1989 Camry now. Very roomy inside.

    If I was in the market for a car, I’d have to give one a serious look.

    It’s a real winner, and I see more of them every day. Not bad looking, either.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    I’m kind of steering my girlfriend into getting a Corolla or Prius… Payback on the Prius would be a few years since she has a long commute, but I really like the Corolla… I’m just not sure about the reliability of the CVT…

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    I recently sat in a new Corolla and was astounded at how roomy it is. Honestly the back seat is amazing, I am six foot two and I actually fit comfortably with my legs almost stretched out. I’m serious. In comparison to other recent cars I’ve sat in, it had FAR MORE back seat room than a new Ford Fusion car, Mazda 6, or for that matter the Nissan Armada which is a 5,300 lb SUV (yes I’m serious).

    I just compared it to the F-150 super cab and Ram 1500 quad cab, and the Corolla has far more rear seat leg room.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Please explain what weight has to do with leg room.

      Edit: Please also explain why comparing rear leg room in passenger sedans versus trucks is relevant.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “I recently sat in a new Corolla and was astounded at how roomy it is. Honestly the back seat is amazing”

      A prime example of model bloat. Compacts are now where the midsize cars of the 90′s and early 2000s were in terms of passenger accomodations.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Agree. In my mind the prime visual example of this is the Altima, and the changes between the 98-01 and the 02+.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I’m quite OK with this. Cars got a little TOO small in the ’80s, across the board, and have been growing since. Why shouldn’t a compact fit 4 6′ tall passengers somewhat comfortably? People are larger now than ever. The next sizes up give more lounging room.

    • 0 avatar
      formula m

      My sister leased a new ’14 S and the interior is a huge upgrade from the ’10 sentra she came out of. She doesn’t mind CVT’s. No problems with the sentra other than the dealer telling her she must get a complete brake job due to rust build up with 40,000kms driven and 3months left on lease. In the new Corolla I liked the back seat space but I sat back there on some gravel roads around the cottage this summer and it is the loudest, tin can sounding car I have ever experienced. It has the mud guards so I’m not sure why it’s so loud. No sound proofing back there? Cheaper, lighter weight I guess

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Toyota: winning with blah.

    At some point, they’re not going to be able to sell this model – and the Camry – off the rep from the past models. That will be a bad day for Toyota.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    So you’re telling me that the 2013 Honda Civic, aka the World’s Worst Car Ever, was the best selling small car in the US? Impossible.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      The 2013 upgrade fixed a lot of the 2012′s shortcomings. It’s not a bad car, and for someone buying an appliance, even the 2012 model will get the job done just fine.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    They made the Corolla look better, at least, and they finally gave the Corolla S the option of rear disks, but man, that 1.8 inline four is just such a bland beige blob of an engine.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      Is this the same 1.8, or at least an evolution of the one from the 94-97 model years? Have they corrected the propensity to use oil at an alarming rate?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        That problem must have been fixed because my wife has a 2005 Vibe 1.8 VVT (98,000+ miles) that uses no oil between changes and she sure isn’t a stickler about every 3,000 miles. (That engine is beat hard and put away wet too. The only “love” that it gets is that it generally gets driven at least 30 min at a time every time the key is turned.)

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        There is a particular poster that will not break out in fits of rage that you dare ask this question.

        Non-pedantic discussion.

        Yes the engine has been updated. There is a nice read on it here:

        http://www.corolland.com/engines.html

        However the updates are more akin to the GM 3.8L V6 Series I, Series II, Series III.

        The latest iteration increased displacement by 3 ccs, however bore, stroke, and compression are identical. They all use the same aluminum block, iron sleeve, DOHC design going back 20 years.

        HP has steadily increased from 120 to 134. Direct ignition and sequential injection has been around since 2006.

        However, at its core, it is still an aluminum block iron sleeve Toyota 1.8L engine.

        One can follow the lineage of the GM 3.6L V6 engine and say its roots ulitmiately trace back to the 50′s. It isn’t an “inaccurate” statement, however the GM 3.6L V6 has next to nothing in common with say the 3.8L V6, or the 3.4L, or the 3.1, or…

        The same can be said for the Toyota engine in the Corolla to a far lesser degree. The similarities go beyond the engine block (which was modified in its latest iteration) as other components continue to solider on. So that is why I say the 3.8L V6 Series I, II and III changes are a better analogy.

        It won’t be my girlfriend CJ writing a long missive on the nuances on why this is wrong – but be prepared for a counter rant shortly on no by golly, that engine has nothing in common at all with the prior 1.8L.

  • avatar
    nguyenvuminh

    There are so many car buyers out there that do not post on this and other car websites, and what they want is dependable, comfortable, economical and reputable vehicles. So we “car enthusiasts” can post all we want about the boring Toyota, the declining Honda, etc. and the numbers will tell the same old story and that is Japanese small and mid cars continue to dominate this and many other markets. For all of the hype that’s been thrown on Hyundai and Kia, sorry, you’re not even close.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The Corolla is not comfortable.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I’m quite OK with this. Cars got a little TOO small in the ’80s, across the board, and have been growing since. Why shouldn’t a compact fit 4 6′ tall passengers somewhat comfortably? People are larger now than ever. The next sizes up give more lounging room.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Well that replay ended up in the wrong place for some reason…

          As to comfortable – if all you have ever driven are appliances, you won’t know the difference.

          It’s like all the hilarious people on here who think a Prius is quiet! They are, as long as you are not actually moving.

          • 0 avatar
            Brian P

            Lots of people buy cars in this segment on autopilot. Plenty don’t shop around, and plenty never even take a test drive.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Every time I’ve driven a Corolla, it reminds me just how many people each year make the decision to care NOTHING about their car’s drive, dynamics, luxury, appearance, passion, soul, prestige, and many other adjectives.

    It’s such a boring punishment to drive one. I don’t know that all these people buying in each year know what they’re missing. Surely fuel economy and frequency of repair can’t be THAT important. Sadface.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Huh. I guess they have other priorities. And thanks for the hyperbole.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Some people just want a car. The Corolla does car things and comes from a brand with a reputation. For many, that’s all there is to it.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I guess as an enjoyer of cars it’s hard for me to grasp. Even my sister, who isn’t interested in cars at all, demanded some style and bought a Forte.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          Corey, like you I am an enjoyer of cars. But I think the Corolla is fine. I don’t think being an enjoyer of cars and an appreciating the Corolla are mutually exclusive.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          I can’t really grasp “sense of style” and “Kia Forte” being used together either.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            She just demanded “some” style, in her view, as the Corolla was “bland/boring” but the Forte looked “nice/sporty.”

            I certainly agree it has a higher amount of design as far as angles are concerned, just not necessarily all that great.

          • 0 avatar
            mechaman

            Had a chance to drive a ’13 Forte for a few days last month back and forth from Chicago to DeKalb. I wasn’t expecting much at the start, but came away a little more impressed with the Forte than I thought I would be. Odd, though, the ’13 looks like they copped a bit of styling from the Corolla in some views. I’d change that gigantic ‘KIA’ badge in some way, though. It looks out of scale ..

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      Hey, at least they aren’t buying CUVs…

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “Surely fuel economy and frequency of repair can’t be THAT important. Sadface.”

      They are that important, and to most people. So is total cost of ownership, which the Corolla is also very good at.

      It’s not like the Corolla is really bad (well, not since that hateful 93-97/98-02 version) compared the competition.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Some people just want comfortable, reliable and economical transportation. The Corolla fills the bill.

      They’re no different than the people who, in the 1960s and 1970s, were happily buying six-cylinder Darts, Valiants, Mavericks and Novas with an automatic transmission, power steering and AM radio.

      (Believe it or not, very few people during that time period were driving around in red Cadillac convertibles, Corvettes, Cobras and Hemi-powered Mopars, which, of course, is contrary to the impression left by virtually any modern-day classic car show.)

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The Corolla is the ultimate small car for people who care absolutely nothing about cars, just like the Camry is the midsize for people who care absolutely nothing about cars. And that is a HUGE number of people, so these cars sell like wildfire. Nothing wrong with that, but you will never see my fat arse buying one in a million years. And there is nothing wrong with that either. But I fully expect my Sister in Law to buy a Corolla as her next car, at my recommendation. Just like I got my Mom into a Prius-V. Transportation appliances for people who just want a transportation appliance.

      What I don’t understand is the fascination with who sells the most in each segment. Who cares? The best product of any kind is rarely ever the best seller. McDonalds sells the most hamburgers, does that make them the best hamburger on the planet?

  • avatar

    Who is buying Sentras? It’s been terrible for 10 years. The last one was like a homelier Prius without the great fuel economy, and the new one looks like a Hyundai from 1998.

    • 0 avatar
      mjz

      Sentra sales have really picked up steam lately, it was a sales also-ran in 2013, but with virtually no changes the 2014 is moving up the charts all the sudden, maybe good lease deals?

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      Who is buying Sentras?

      My neighbor, for one. He traded down from an old Maxima, so he must be a Nissan guy. Not a good-looking car, agreed, but then Nissan styling is lost in the wilderness anyway.

  • avatar
    bill h.

    Looks bunches nicer than some of the recent previous gens.

    Time will tell if it changes my perception of the car in once sense–whenever I’m stuck on a two lane road behind a line of cars where the lead vehicle is clearly not even driving the speed limit, I wonder if the car in front’s a Corolla.

    I’ve not tried to document it, but I find myself being more correct than wrong in my hunch once the traffic breaks free. And yes, I know the percentages would favor a Corolla anyway just because of how many are sold.

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      It’s not your perception. Here in HNL the worst drivers are Toyota/Lexus drivers. They are the slowest on the freeway. They always –always– make last-second lane and even direction changes (the appliance-grade plastics must have some sort of aromatherapy/narcotic effect), like they don’t know where they’re going. They never use their turn signals. And Toyota drivers never figure out their headlamps are NOT on at night (it’s the illuminated gauges that fool them, I guess).

  • avatar
    mjz

    Recently went car shopping with a female friend as her Saturn Aura Hybrid was going to require some expensive repairs. I talked her into leasing either a Corolla or Civic (both had good lease deals). Stopped at the Honda dealer first. Test drove the Civic. She liked the way it looked and drove, and LOVED the two tier dash(!). Next went to the Toyota dealer, sat in, but didn’t drive the Corolla. She didn’t like the instrument panel in comparison to the Civic’s, and the clincher was the lack of a backup camera in the Corolla that is standard on all Civics. Back to the Honda dealer. She leased a base LX (in Crimson Pearl, great color) for $168 per month (36 month lease) with $1,999 down, which was about what her Saturn was going to cost to repair. My only beef about the Civic is that they severely limit the exterior/interior color combinations. Even though they offer black/grey/beige interiors, you can generally get one exterior color with only one particular interior color. For example, the Crimson Pearl color can only be had with the beige interior, which is too light for me.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      I know another woman who fell in love with that Crimson Pearl too. She just bought one – the LX with a girlfriend, who bought one the previous month.

      Had to be Crimson Pearl. She thinks it looks like a million bucks.

      btw, wanna bet the Civic outsells the Corolla retail?

  • avatar
    geeber

    I saw one in traffic last night and thought that it’s not bad looking in profile, but the front bumper and grille treatment just kills it for me.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Well, the new Corolla rates Marginal in the IIHS Small Overlap test. The Civic is better.

    Cannot see why anyone would buy a Corolla when safer alternatives are available, but the buying public obviously spend no time researching such things.

    • 0 avatar
      etho1416

      So true! Toyota/Lexus has done terribly on the new test while Honda/Acura has done really well. Even when toyota has tried to reconfigure vehicles to pass the yet they can’t seem to do it. And worst of all they knew the test was coming and did not bother to factor or in to the redesigned corolla. They really just don’t care about safety.

  • avatar
    turf3

    Imagine that you have a 23 year old daughter who is a first year teacher in an inner city school. To get to work she drives through half-empty industrial parks with hookers on the sidewalks and past ghetto bars emptying out their last patrons at 6:00 am. Because she is a school teacher, she has to go to PTA meetings at night. The teachers leave the building all together for safety. She barely makes enough money to pay her rent, student loans, and other expenses.

    Would you recommend she select anything else for a car than the most reliable, plain, low operating cost vehicle available? How would you feel about getting a call at 9:00 pm: “Hey Dad, my car quit and it won’t start and here I am in the ghetto and there are some guys checking me out that look kind of sketchy…”

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      As if the Corolla is the only car that could accomplish this? That kind of appeal to emotion probably works great on the sales floor.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        I don’t think you’d hear it put that way on the sales floor… but they do enjoy sales because of the reputation.

        I’ve been to some trouble aiding the two kids who bought Cavaliers when said Cavaliers broke down, including driving a couple hours for retrieval, and it’s aggravation I don’t need. Our even older Toyotas haven’t caused me that kind of trouble. We had a spare car to loan out but that’s about to change.

        None of my kids teach in “the ghetto” but that doesn’t mean we’re indifferent to reliability.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          There is plenty of happy medium between utter dreck like the Crapalier and a Corolla. Like the Civic and Mazda 3. Both of which are just about as reliable, and much nicer in pretty much every way. The Focus is IMHO MUCH nicer than any of the Japanese offerings, but it also has a different blend of abilities. Ditto the Golf. In this class, *I* would certainly buy a Golf, but I have pushed my SIL towards the Corolla. It’s not a bad car, it’s just a really, really dull one. Now with 10% more ugly front end!

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            Toyota has what Mazda would like… Market share. This is a large base of largely satisfied customers that come straight back when they need a new car.

            People around here seem to think this is evil but it’s a highly desirable thing in the business world.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            I agree, but I’m unsure of whether the Civic belongs in that happy medium. It’s as close to a Corolla appliance as it has ever been, and has been lumped into the de facto “appliance” category in every recent comparison test I’ve read.

            Car and Driver just tested a Civic HX, and if you open the track test sheet file, you can clearly see one of the staffers wrote “F@cking horrible” in the notes section. C&D usually loves Hondas.

            Unless I absolutely need backseat space, in this segment it is Golf, Mazda3, Focus, and Cruze for me, and in that order.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    With competition so strong in the C-segment, with basically no one offering a dog in the entire category, I just don’t understand why people wouldn’t at least cross shop instead of rubber stamping a Corolla.

    In LE trim ya you get Bluetooth and LED low beam headlights (that are reported to be quite yellow, dim, and crappy). You also get a torsion beam suspension, rear drum brakes, steel rims with hubcaps, and the ye’ old 1.8L 4-banger under the hood. You even get a circa 1984 stand alone digital clock smack dab in the middle of your dashboard.

    I get the Corolla is a Maytag and generally just as reliable. That’s why it sells, but the quality gap from worst to first is pretty narrow these days, and general revolve around weird shifting to make CAFE happy, and misbehaving infotainment systems. Not engines self destructing and cheap interior bits falling apart. For that matter by all reports, the Corolla interior is only middle of the pack at best, compared to its competition in the C-segment.

    Eventually this beige on beige one notch above lowest common denominator strategy is going to catch up, or they’ll make some tweaks.

    I will say it is a very attractive car in S trim – the LE models I’ve seen running around – blah.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I am not a huge GM fan, but if someone wants an appliance, they should buy a Cruze instead of a Corolla. The Cruze is the most comfortable economy C-segment sedan you can buy. I certainly like the dynamics of the Focus and Mazda3, but the Cruze is a great buy for someone who just wants a reliable commuter.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Cruze comes with a significant weight penalty, though that sort of thing appeals to the $-per-pound crew. The rear seat is rather tight, too. Overall, it’s a decent car that would probably sell an extra 50k if it wasn’t made by GM.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      “I just don’t understand why people wouldn’t at least cross shop instead of rubber stamping a Corolla.”

      Because they were very happy with their previous Toyota. Is this so hard to grasp? GM and Ford enjoy this consumer behavior in trucks and no one seems to think twice about it. This is an advantage Toyota enjoys in sedans.

    • 0 avatar
      boogieman99

      Not to mention the Base CE trim level still offers a 4 spd automatic for those who don’t want a manual.

      The fact that Toyota can get away with offering a 4 spd auto in this day and age is damn near ridiculous

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        boogieman99: “Not to mention the Base CE trim level still offers a 4 spd automatic for those who don’t want a manual.”

        Put that in context; you can get an automatic Corolla for something like $1.8K less than an automatic Civic or about $1.3K less than a Cruze automatic. Granted, that transmission is nothing to write home about but they hit a price point with it.

        If you want to spend more, the Corolla is feature-and-price competitive with the others.

        The transmission isn’t even that bad… If all you’ve ever had are 4-speed autos, you won’t notice or care. If all you’ve ever had are sticks and want to switch to an auto, it isn’t a bad deal.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Yay boring cars. And yay boring annual physicals. May my wife and I have many more of both.

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    Are the Fit and Yaris not on this slide because they are selling in much lower numbers so they didn’t make the cut?

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Fit sales are down 12% to 26,939 YTD. It’s a transition year for the Fit, clearing out old and waiting for new. Yaris is down 33% to 9218, but could the new face bring sales up? So much face. (http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/872122/) Prius C, by the way, is down 2% to 23,983.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Versa, Fit, Yaris, Sonic, Mini, 500, Mazda2, Accent, Fiesta are B-segment cars, they don’t compete with the likes of the Cruze, Focus, Corolla, Civic, Elantra, Forte, Sentra, Dart, Mazda3, A3, CLA, etc. in this space.

      The iQ, Spark, smartfortwo are A-segment cars (and before someone screams the Spark is B-segment do a search on TTAC, the editorial staff disagrees with your view along with almost every other auto journo – don’t shoot the messenger, not directed at celebrity208)

      The Yaris sales are miserable – and pretty fleet heavy – Yaris sales have been as low as in the 700s per month in the last year. Big bumps in single month volume related to fleet sales.

      In the B-segment the ruler is the Versa followed by the Sonic. The Versa sells on virtue of price and size – but it’s supposedly very errr, Spartan. Third place gets a little tighter in the B-segment, with the new Fit selling well.

  • avatar
    Joss

    I heard Versa Note ain’t selling well as hoped. And that may be push to Sentra at Niss store.

    The only thing that would interest me in this segment is the pending 300+ hp Focus RS. After that Golf GTI or Sentra Spec V of which there’s no sign.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    My sister was all ready to buy a Mazda3. But the dealers were insisting on MSRP or higher, while the Toyota dealer was ready to wheel and deal. She ended up with a Corolla.

    Don’t overlook Toyota’s dealer network in explaining Toyota sales.

    (What baffles me is the Honda numbers. I’ve literally never had a satisfactory experience at a Honda dealer, but clearly they continue to move the metal.)

    • 0 avatar

      I had the same situation, after 2 Mazda 3′s, my lease ended in June this year but in January, I was looking for a new car, Mazda could not offer me what Honda did, not only that, I got a better lease deal on an Accord than what they offered me on a Mazda 3.
      I live in NYC, it’s about 9 month since they start selling the new 2014 Mazda 3 but so far I saw maybe 2 of them on the road, I think I can guess why.

  • avatar
    bd2

    The Civic is still the best retail selling compact.

    I wonder if the Corolla’s ATP is as low as its predecessor and as low as the Camry’s is (respective to its segment).

    Elantra sales are down as Hyundai has shifted production in favor of the new Sonata.

  • avatar
    mechaman

    I worry about this. In my opinion, ugly car design should be discouraged by people being turned off by it. So I worry that these Corolla buyers may have bad eyesight. And the model pic at the top is the example; didn’t Toyota designers see how that blacked out area under the grill looks like the front is damaged? Everytime I see one, I have to remind myself that the lower front ain’t busted. Then there’s the chrome grill surround. Looks incomplete and flimsy, like a bad aftermarket glue on from any parts store. Yeah, it’s my opinion, but the car makes me itch when I see one. And I am not happy that the ’14/’13 Kia Forte seems to be copping from the Corolla .. I guess it better be reliable.

  • avatar
    Freddie

    To try to put a positive spin on these numbers…

    The combined sales of Focus, Jetta and Mazda 3 – arguably the most enthusiast oriented among these models – exceed Corolla sales.


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