Toyota Spending Money in the U.S. On a Conventional Passenger Car

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
toyota spending money in the u s on a conventional passenger car

Those fools — don’t they know the Corolla sold *just* 329,196 examples in the United States last year?

Alright, not everything has to be about Ford. But as the Blue Oval plans a retreat from the affordable passenger car market, other automakers stand to gain the company’s lost customers. Some of them, anyway. And Toyota seems to have no qualms about continuing to sell small, affordable cars that bring buyers into the showroom — so much so, that it’s spending $170 million to bring more jobs (and a new Corolla) to Mississippi.

In the context of this week’s news, the Corolla’s factory retooling and platform swap makes one marvel at what name recognition and a simple bodystyle can do for a model.

For its 12th generation, the Corolla moves onto the modular TNGA platform shared by many of its stablemates. Some 400 new jobs will be created at the company’s Blue Springs, Mississippi assembly plant to complete the transition, as well as increase the plant’s output. Toyota needs to free up plant space in Cambridge, Ontario to make room for the 2019 RAV4, so it’s sending extra output south of the border.

“We will be able to respond quicker and be more flexible in order to meet market demands down the road,” said Toyota Mississippi President Sean Suggs in a statement.

The next-generation Corolla appears next year as a 2020 model. Joining the outgoing model for the 2019 model year is the new Corolla Hatchback, formerly the iM. (We’ll have a review for you on April 30th.) That particular model originates overseas, where it’s sold as the Auris.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the Corolla’s domestic health. In a nutshell, the Corolla is in tip-top shape, all things considered. The 11th-generation model debuted for the 2014 model year, with sales (including that of the iM) hitting a post-recession peak in 2016. A mild refresh followed for 2017.

For a model that’s fairly long in the tooth, and one in need of more power and panache, last year’s sales numbers would be right at home in, say, 2003. Sales of the Corolla line fell 4 percent in March, with first quarter volume down 4.4 percent, year-to-date, but that’s hardly the kind of losses seen at other automakers.

With a new Corolla hatch replacing the slow-selling iM later this year and a new sedan arriving next year, Toyota is in as good a position as it can be with its compact car nameplate.

[Image: Toyota]

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  • Carrera Carrera on Apr 28, 2018

    They kept this latest generation as simple as possible, but that's why they are more reliable than Civics. No direct injection, no turbos and still get 40 mpg hwy.

  • John Horner John Horner on Apr 28, 2018

    Corollas sell themselves. When was the last time you saw an expensive TV commercial for the Corolla? When was the last time you saw multiple thousands of dollars in cash back incentives for a Corolla? Ford is giving up on sedans because there hasn't been a Ford sedan which sells itself since the first two generations of the Ford Taurus. Meanwhile, Toyota might consider giving up on the Tundra. Er, it sort of has. Same basic design since 2007 with a mild refresh in 2014.

  • Lou_BC ERay? A southern model will be the BillyRay.
  • Lou_BC I've never used a car buying plan service. My Costco membership did get me 1,000 cash back on my last truck.
  • Jeff S I can understand 8 cars is a bit much unless you are a serious collector. I always loved the Challenger when it first came out and now. I don't need a car like this but I am glad it exists at least for 1 more year. If I had a choice between a Mustang, a Camaro, and a Challenger I would opt for a Challenger but probably with a V-6 since it has more than enough power for most and I don't need to be burning rubber. Challenger has the classic muscle car looks, more cabin room, and a decent size trunk which makes it very livable for day to day driving and for traveling. The base models of the Dodge Challenger has a 3.6-liter V6 engine that gives you 305 horsepower with 268 lb-ft torque. The car attains 60 mph from a standstill within just 6 seconds, which is quite fast. Even with their base engines, the Challenger and Camaro are lightning-fast. The Camaro reaches 165 mph, while the Challenger can go up to 11 mph faster!
  • Inside Looking Out I would avoid American cities if I can. European cities are created for humans and Americans for cars.
  • Inside Looking Out I used True car once in 2014 and got a great deal. The difference is that you do nothing but dealers call you. No haggling but you can get the same deal browsing inventories on dealers websites. It just matter of convenience, Rich people delegate job to someone else because time costs more.