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Toyota to replace the Corolla with Auris in Europe and Japan news
23 October 2006

Tokyo: After 40 years of existence and more than 30 million sales worldwide, Toyota Corolla is set to drop the Corolla brand in Japan and Europe including the UK and will compete head on with compact car models like Ford''s Focus and the VW Golf with a replacement named Auris (Latin for gold).

Designed by Toyota''s European design studio, ED2, the Auris is designed to be a more upmarket model than the Corolla. In Europe, it will compete mainly against the Volkswagen Golf and the Alfa Romeo 147, while in Japan it is likely to compete against Nissan Motor''s Tiida and Honda Motor''s Civic.

"Designed and built in Europe, it will join the highly successful Toyota Yaris and Avensis in helping the company achieve its newly announced target of 1.2-million annual sales by 2008 (in Europe)", a Toyota statement said.

Priced between ¥1.62 million ($13,600) and ¥2.3 million in Japan, the Auris essentially replaces Toyota''s hatchback models Corolla Runx and Allex in Japan. The Auris is fairly close to the Auris Space Concept car displayed at the Paris Motor Show last month and its styling is much like the Toyota compact car Yaris, though more conservative.

In Japan the Auris has been launched in the three- and five-door variants, and with a choice of five engines. Two petrol engines variants will be available in a 1.4-litre 96bhp unit and a 1.6-litre version 122bhp version. Three diesel variants comprise a 1.4-litre 89bhp version, a 2-litre, 124bhp unit and another 2.2-litre, 175bhp unit.

The variants with the larger engines are said to be the fastest models in the range designed to hit a total speed of 130mph and touch 60mph in 8.1sec.

Going by the few details of the car''s interior specification released to the press, the Auris appears to have a sculpted dashboard, with a thick central ''bridge'' that elevates the gearstick and handbrake and frees up space between the front seats. Combining a sportier look than the outgoing Corolla it has a more practical and versatile feel inside.

Large windows and a glass roof give the car a light, airy cabin. Prominent Toyota features include twin chrome tailpipes, hi-tech lights, a heavily sculpted front bumper with three air vents, 19-inch alloy wheels, large bumpers and chrome exhausts, all combine to make the Auris more attractive to the younger consumers.

Toyota will officially launch the Auris at the Bologna motor show in early December this year. UK sales will start in February 2007, ahead of the rest of Europe, with prices beginning from £12,000.

The Auris will compete in the C segment of the European market against cars like Volkswagen''s Golf, Opel / Vauxhall GM''s Astra, Fiat''s Stilo, Ford''s Focus and Renault''s Megane.

According to the company the Auris is "designed from the inside out" which its design chief Wahei Hirai explained to the press as, "The Auris space concept is tall and spacious. The high waistline, short overhangs and forward balance of the cabin architecture ensure it retains a sense of dynamism and agility, a quality we call perfect imbalance."

Toyota has indicated that the Corolla name will be dropped in Europe, and the hatchaback would be the most prevalent version though the saloon may be retained for the more conservative consumers. The carmaker has said that ultimately, the estate versions, SUV-crossover and MPV models will be built on this platform also.

The original Toyota Corolla, launched in 1966, became an international bestseller and turned Toyota into a global force. In the past four decades more than 30 million Corollas were sold worldwide. Toyota''s Corolla put the Ford Model T and the Volkswagen Beetle and Golf in the shade in total sales volumes and now in its ninth generation, the Corolla is manufactured in four continents and sold around the world.

Another new launch for the Japanese market from the Toyota is the Yaris TS, which is a fancier version of its compact, with a 130bhp 1.8-litre petrol engine and variable valve timing. This can reach 120mph and 0-60mph in 9.3 seconds. Its suspension and steering has been specially tuned and it has been given a lower height, modified springs, retuned shock absorbers and a thicker anti-roll bar, as well as a sharper steering ratio.

The Yaris TS will also go on sale in Europe in early 2007, in both three- and five-door versions.

Offering a fuel consumption of 37.7mpg and carbon dioxide emissions of 178g/km the Yaris TS has a black mesh grille, dark-tinted headlamp trim, deep front bumper with integrated headlights, chromed exhaust, side skirts, roof spoiler and 17-inch alloy wheels. It will be available in a series of unique paint finishes. Its cabin has sports seats, alloy trim, a leather steering wheel and amber-lit instruments.

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Toyota to replace the Corolla with Auris in Europe and Japan