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.

  • El scotto My iPhone gets too hot while using the wireless charging in my BMW. One more line on why someone is a dumbazz list?
  • Buickman yeah, get Ron Fellows each time I get a Vette. screw Caddy.
  • Dusterdude The Detroit 2.5 did a big disservice by paying their CEO’s so generously ( overpaying them ) It is a valid talking point for for the union ) However , the bottom line - The percentage of workers in the private sector who have a defined benefit pension plan is almost non existent - and the reason being is it’s unaffordable ! . This is a a huge sticking point as to have lower tier workers join would be prohibitive ( aside from other high price demands being requested - ie >30% wage gain request ) . Do the math - can a company afford to pay employees for 35 years , followed by funding a pension for a further 30 years ?
  • El scotto Human safety driver? Some on here need a human safety thinker.
  • Carlson Fan Stupid vehicle, that can't do any of the things a truck should be able to do. If I want something fast/quick and sporty I'll get a corvette or a 4 dr sport sedan. Taking a truck & neutering it to try and make it into something it's not is just pointless. But maybe that's the point of this road disaster