Blame the Rebels.
Nissan’s Rogue was the best-selling vehicle without a pickup bed in December of 2016, largely thanks to a massive advertising campaign that tied into one of the two recent Star Wars movies where only teenaged girls can be trusted to save the universe. Behind it, you had the usual suspects: CR-V, RAV4, Camry, Accord, Civic, Corolla. But even that state of affairs is a major change from business-as-usual a decade or two ago.
You can learn a lot about American society by looking at the best-selling car in any given year. So if we discount the Rogue’s Yavin IV-style moonshot performance, what’s changed about us since, say, 1967 — and what’s stayed the same? More importantly, who killed the Camry?
Toyota has released 2017 prices for some of its small cars, and it looks like a name change (and modest power increase) tacked a slight premium onto the Toyota 86, formerly the Scion FR-S.
A sign of our automated times, it looks like the manual transmission’s days could be numbered in the Corolla lineup. (Read More…)
These days, plenty of tuner kids want to get a E70 Corolla and turn it into a sick drift machine … but then reality sets in and they end up commuting to work in a 15-year-old Kia Rio instead. Meanwhile, the abandoned drift-project TE72 wagons become 24 Hours of LeMons cars, if they’re lucky, and the rusty SR-5s just get scrapped once something costing more than $19 breaks.
This ’81 Corolla two-door SR-5 liftback gave its all in the service of its owners, and now it awaits parts buyers in a Denver self-service yard. (Read More…)
The eleventh generation Toyota Corolla has been refreshed with a new beak-like nose, and equipped with new safety features and options. Furthermore, as the Corolla is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, a special commemorative edition has been announced.
I’ll expect to see a few of these rolling across the blocks at the Barrett-Jackson auction in 2046.
The fourth-generation Corolla was a gigantic sales success in California, but you won’t see many of these TE72 wagons even in rust-free regions these days; nearly all of them were driven into the ground and replaced by RAV4s or Priuses a decade or two back.
Since we had wagon Junkyard Finds on Monday and Wednesday, let’s make this a Junkyard Wagon Week with this third one! (Read More…)
It was the summer of 1990, and my mom was getting tired of her old Sentra. With barely 70 horsepower, it was lethargic on any grade. To be fair, we live in Ohio, so steep hills are not frequently encountered, but the car was not meeting her needs. I encouraged her to start shopping, and we ended up at a Toyota dealer.
While I drooled over the Celica and Corolla GT-S, mom found a light blue Corolla sedan that she fell in love with. Save for an AM/FM-cassette, it was stripped — we even had to buy an aftermarket clock! — but it had more power and room than the old Nissan. Good thing, too, as that was the summer I went from five-foot-five to six-foot-two-inches tall.
She’s on Corolla number five or six now. It may not inspire enthusiasts, but the Corolla inspires loyalty.
Honda received much flogging from the press for the last-generation Civic. The 2012 model was the result of Honda improperly reading the Magic 8-Ball amid the global slowdown. Honda’s decision makers assumed shoppers would be looking for something more modest, perhaps even austere, and changed direction to suit. The competition, assuming shoppers would be looking for greater creature comforts in a smaller package, went the opposite direction and doubled down on luxury features.
The conventional wisdom has been that Honda “stepped in it” with the ninth-generation sedan. Journalists complained about the plastic quality, the styling and … customers paid little attention. The Civic’s sales dipped slightly in 2011 during the changeover, but rapidly rebounded to over 315,000 units a year since. Some would say that Honda’s “emergency refreshes” were the reason for the sales success, but I propose a different answer: the continued sales success of the lesser-than Civic and an increase in sales of “premium” compacts showed there was plenty of room in the segment for both.
Whatever the reality, one thing is for certain: When it came time to design the tenth-generation Civic, Honda had “austere” removed from the company dictionary.
As a father, I have to rationalize my automotive wanderlust at times. I can’t go buy a sportscar on a whim, no matter how great the deal, as I still have to feed and transport my children. But something interesting with four doors gives me pause. Also, as my oldest child creeps closer to driving age, I ponder what would be ideal for her.
The Corolla hasn’t been an exciting car for decades, and I’d imagine that few Americans even considered the vaunted AE86 chassis to be a performance car until a dozen years (and countless imported DVDs) had passed. The Corolla is the car that cemented the “beige” reputation of Toyota. Reliable, boring, dependable, slow.
After all, my mother has driven nothing but Corollas for 25 years. Need I say more?
On Tuesday night, Toyota dropped the new Prius from the sky in Las Vegas in front of journalists (we guess our invite got lost in the mail, Toyota?), “social influencers” and bartenders, because most of them had already seen the leaked photos that you have too.
The 2016 Prius is a little Mirai, a little Corolla and a whole lot of vague right now. Toyota didn’t detail any of the car’s official specs or price, but according to CarNewsChina the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and electrons in the back combine for 150 horsepower and will propel the car up to 60 mpg. According to the report, the Prius will also travel up to 34 miles on electricity alone.
Even though the car won’t go on sale until early next year, Toyota is ramping up production at its plant with “unprecedented” levels of overtime.
Owners of some Toyota cars in Canada say that the Japanese automaker is asking them to foot the bill for replacement odometers due to a glitch that won’t allow the gauges to roll over after 299,999 kilometers, CTV is reporting (via AutoFocus).
The glitchy odometers are found in 2003-2008 Toyota Matrix and Corolla models, and some 2004 and 2005 Toyota Prius models.
There are a few videos on YouTube of people expecting to hit 300,000, but they never do.
Every summer, I go to Wisconsin to stay in a cabin on Lake Michigan owned by my wife’s family. Mostly I’m rendered too immobile by excessive cheese curd and cured-meat consumption to do much junkyard exploring, but this trip I managed to hit Green Bay to check out a self-service yard full of very rusty and/or late-model Detroit inventory. Among all the 9-year-old Malibus and endless stretches of Buicks in the GM section, I spotted this NUMMI-built Nova. (Read More…)
Imagine if you will.
The world’s largest and most consistently successful automaker is in deep trouble. Not because of profits, but because of products.