The Toyota Corolla has reached 50 million unit sales worldwide, but it stands for more than just a Toyota sedan.
Ever since its introduction in 1966, Toyota expected the Corolla to be a global model. So not only was it exported from Japan, but it was also built in many countries, including developing ones such as Malaysia.
Today, Toyota celebrates 50 million Corolla sales worldwide, and we're pretty sure it has helped many industrial sectors along the way, including ours.
The Local assembly of Corollas is done from CKD packs, where valuable skill and technology has been transferred to the authorised assemblers, helping to boost industrial growth in the countries involved.
When the Malaysian government invited vehicle manufacturers to assemble their products in Malaysia in 1965, Toyota was among the first to respond to the call. Since the Corolla was set out to be a global model, the company proposed that it be built in Malaysia.
For the local assembly, Toyota had talks with Champion Motors, which had just built an assembly plant in Shah Alam, Selangor, back then. Owned by Inchcape Group at the time, the Champion Motor plant - which later changed its name to Assembly Services Sdn Bhd (ASSB) - took the Corolla assembly in its stride despite knowing that they had no prior experience in doing so.
Despite that, in its early years, ASSB had the highest production rate in the country, and with the positive response to the Corolla when it was introduced in Malaysia in 1968, the model began to become the flagship model produced by the ASSB.
Other Toyota models were added from year to year, increasing Toyota's popularity among Malaysians and successfully positioning itself as the No. 1 vehicle brand in Malaysia. By the 1970s, the Corolla became the best-selling car in the country. To date, about 300,000 units of the Corolla have been sold in the Malaysian market, forming part of the 50 million units that have been sold worldwide.
Almost all generations of the Corolla had been assembled in Malaysia. However, the model is no longer assembled in Malaysia post-2008 as it has been imported as a CBU from Thailand.
Despite that, the Corolla still managed to gain a broad audience as it was sold at a relatively affordable price. It has also proven to be durable, reliable, and economical - which has helped cement Toyota as a household name in Malaysia today.
Between 2010 and 2020, the Corolla accounted for 6% of Toyota sales in the country, with the 10th generation model sold between 2006 and 2013-being the best-selling generation in Malaysia to date. About 40,000 units of that generation model were sold.
According to UMW Toyota President, Ravindran K. the success of that model set a new standard for its class, as it offered motorists a dynamic and advanced sedan with luxurious styling. It also came with a higher level of safety and was environmentally friendly," said Ravindran.
"Each generation, right from the very first, has been a contributor in the brand transformation. From the first generation, which began the motorisation for the masses, to the latest generation, which was the basis of the transformation, the Corolla has always been in sync with the changes in society and the economy of Malaysia," he added.
It's no surprise then that with each generation introduced, many new customers join the Toyota family. According to Toyota, many are not only loyal to Toyota but specifically loyal to the Corolla. 63% of Corolla customers swap their old model to a new generation model as soon as it launches. This is because they are confident that the Corolla is the best value for money, has good durability, reliability and good resale value.
Apparently, nearly a third of Corolla customers also buy another Corolla as an additional car for the household. Toyota also states that If they don't resell it, the vehicle will remain in the family for a long time, passed down to children who will inherit a car that can be expected to be used in the long run.
We're pretty sure this phenomenon not only happens in Malaysia but all of the countries it is produced in as well as sold. After all, if you mention Corolla anywhere in the world it is instantly recognised, how many other models can lay claim to such popularity?
Do you have any stories about a Corolla? Let us know in the comments.