Toyota Corolla has been a very successful car, not only in our market but almost in every part of the world. Corolla over these years has become the highest selling nameplate (still under production) for any automobile manufacturer in the world having already sold more than 40 million units globally.
Toyota Corolla did something no vehicle has ever done in history. In 2015 by selling more than 1.3 million units worldwide (1,339,024), the Corolla retained its title of world’s best-selling car after its sales climbed 4.7 percent in 2015. Last year in 2014, Toyota sold 1,278,909 Corollas, showing just how strong the budget-minded compact car really is. The top market for the Corolla is the U.S. with 363,332 sold followed by China with 300,641 units. In Japan, Corolla sales tallied in at 109,027.
In our market as well, the Corolla is a household name and is becoming increasingly popular year after year. In 2010 the 10th generation Corolla surpassed the sales of Suzuki Mehran to become the largest selling car in Pakistan and since then holds an unshakeable top position as the best-selling vehicle of our country. In 2014 when the 11th generation Corolla was introduced in Pakistan, it become even more popular with its bold & distinctive styling and even after 2 years of its launch is still selling like hot cakes. In fiscal year 2014-15, the 11th generation Corolla sold 51,398 units in Pakistan which is highest ever by any vehicle in country’s automobile history.
Corolla available with 3 different engines in our market outsells the arch rival Honda Civic by a huge number. After the introduction of the 11th generation Corolla in 2014, the difference between the sales of Civic & Corolla became so drastic that Honda decided not to disclose the individual sales figures of Civic, as they now present the combined figures of Civic & City. Even then the collective number of sales of Honda Civic & City are less than half of the sales of Toyota Corolla.
Honda’s new Civic, known as the Civic X is a car that’s becoming a rock star for Honda. After a rather unsuccessful tenure of the 9th generation Civic, the new Civic X is doing rather well in global markets and is well-received by the critics & users alike. Recently a Civic X test mule was spotted testing on the roads of Lahore which assures that Honda is working hard to launch the new Civic here very soon. This is the Civic which has the potential to bring Honda back on top in Pakistan but there are a few problems.
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First is the fact that over these years the Civic has moved from the territory of an affordable subcompact sedan to a rather expensive-to-keep vehicle as per our market standards. The base model Civic 1.8 i-VTEC being the cheapest among the lineup is well above 2.0 million and thus caters to a very limited set of buyers with good purchase power. Keeping that in view it will be hard for Honda to price it below the existing 9th gen Civic and with a price tag this high, it will be out of reach for most potential buyers.
Second problem is the fact that the 11th gen Corolla is about to enter 3rd year of its production in Pakistan and that opens the door to a Corolla facelift. A facelift that has made an aggressive Corolla sedan look even more bold & agile. The redesigned headlamps have new LED clusters and include new LED light guides. The upper grille has been made smaller while the lower grille has been enlarged and given full-width. The new bumper is much more aggressive while the re-sculptured bonnet adds more to the elegance. At the rear, differences are much lesser compared to the front. The chrome strip however, is much thinner and the tail lamps adopt new LED clusters.
In China the Corolla facelift has already hit the markets, being produced by the FAW-Toyota joint venture and is expected to reach the Asian markets very soon. It is possible for Indus motors to bring the Corolla facelift in 2017 & if they are able to do it, it will be very tough for Honda to compete the Corolla with an aging City & a rather expensive Civic.
The Civic X is a very good car, as acclaimed in reviews but competing the insanely successful 11th generation Corolla is a tough ask, especially in our market. Honda will have to play sensibly here and the key to the Civic X success depends a lot on its price & engines offered. The 11th gen Corolla with its 3 engine options (1.3, 1.6 & 1.8) caters to a huge variety of consumers and will become a much more attractive option whenever the facelift arrives. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and wait for 2017!
Browse the gallery below for Corolla facelift pictures: