Toyota Corolla: The World’s Most Popular Car


Toyota City, Japan —Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announces today that cumulative global sales of the Toyota Corolla, the world’s most popular car, surpassed 40 million in July, reaching 40.01 million units. This milestone marks another historic achievement for the Corolla, Toyota’s perennial global car.

Toyota History

In November 1966, Toyota opened a new plant in Takaoka, Aichi Prefecture, dedicated solely to Corolla production. Two years later, with an emphasis on providing region-specific vehicles, production began in Australia and Malaysia. From 1965 to 1968, Toyota more than doubled its total annual production from 480,000 to 1.1 million vehicles—a testament to the Corolla’s significant contribution to the growth of the company.

The Corolla, currently produced at 15 plants worldwide, accounts for one in five vehicles sold in Toyota’s 76-year history.

Corolla exports to North America began in 1968, and early sales success in this market helped global cumulative sales of the car reach 1 million units just four years after launch. In 1997, the Corolla became the world’s best-selling nameplate, with global cumulative sales exceeding 22.65 million units. More than a million units have been sold each year since 2002; last year, a total of 3,180 Corollas were sold every day across more than 150 countries and regions. That equates roughly to one vehicle every 30 seconds.


Marking the milestone, Corolla Chief Engineer Shinichi Yasui said: “I feel this car has been nurtured by people all over the world and I am very proud to have contributed to its foundation and grateful to all those who have owned and loved their Corollas. The key to the Corolla’s success is the faithful passing down of its original development concept from Tatsuo Hasegawa: that the Corolla must bring happiness and well-being to people around the world.”

The Corolla was originally designed to meet the changing needs of Japanese commuters in the mid-1960s. Then-Chief Engineer Tatsuo Hasegawa recognized that with Japan’s industry expanding, most consumers’ daily commuting time was increasing. The need to get around in a personal vehicle was therefore growing and this insight led Hasegawa to conceptualise the first Corolla, with his guiding principles defining the vehicle ever since: always evolving and designed to meet consumer needs in each market.

When the first Corolla rolled off the production line, many basic safety features were still optional. Later, to meet the needs of families, Toyota decided to include many of these features as standard. Toyota’s commitment to pursue higher and higher levels of quality and continue adding new standard features to the affordably priced Corolla has helped ensure that families around the world continue to choose it more than any other nameplate.

The history of the ever-evolving Corolla, filled with examples of technology and quality improvement, is emblematic of Toyota’s efforts to anticipate customer needs and provide ever-better cars.

Reference 1: Current Corolla Production Bases

Company name, country Start of Corolla production
Takaoka Plant (TMC), Japan November 1966
Toyota Motor Thailand Co., Ltd (TMT), Thailand August 1972
Toyota South Africa Motor (Pty) Ltd. (TSAM), South Africa May 1975
Toyota de Venezuela C.A. (TDV), Venezuela April 1986
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. (TMMC), Canada November 1988
Indus Motor Company Ltd. (IMC), Pakistan March 1993
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey Inc. (TMMT), Turkey September 1994*
Toyota Motor Vietnam Co. Ltd. (TMV), Vietnam September 1996
Toyota do Brasil LTDA. (TDB), Brazil September 1998
Kuozui Motor Ltd., Taiwan March 2001
Toyota Kirloskar Motor Private Ltd. (TKM), India February 2003
Tianjin FAW Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. (TFTM) China (two locations) May 2004
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi Inc. (TMMMS), United States October 2011
Miyagi Ohira Plant, Toyota Motor East Japan, Inc, Japan May 2012
*No Corolla production between January 2007 and June 2013; eleventh generation Corolla production began on June 17, 2013


Reference 2: The History of the Corolla

Year Month Key milestones
1966 Sept. Line-off of first Corolla at TMC’s Takaoka Plant in Toyota City
Nov. – Sales of two-door sedan with four-speed floor shift transmission begin in Japan at Toyota Publica dealers; Tokyo prices range from 432,000 yen for standard model to 495,000 yen for deluxe model- Exports to Australia begin
1967 May Four-door sedan and light van added
1968 Feb. Overseas production begins at Assembly Services Sdn. Bhd. (ASSB) in Malaysia
Apr. Exports to U.S. begin
May Exports to Canada begin
July Production begins at what is now Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Ltd. (TMCA)
1969 Mar. Toyota Publica dealer channel changes name to Toyota Corolla
Start of 33-year run as best-selling car in Japan
1970 May Second generation launched
Millionth unit sold
1972 Aug. Production begins at Toyota Motor Thailand Co., Ltd.
1973 Feb. Production begins at Toyota Ireland (TI)
1974 Apr. Third generation launched
1975 May Production begins at Toyota South Africa Motor (Pty) Ltd.
1976 5 millionth unit sold
1979 Mar. Fourth generation launched
1981 Dec. Production at TI ends
1982 10 millionth unit sold
1983 May Fifth generation launched
1986 Apr. Production begins at what is now Toyota de Venezuela C.A.
Sept. Corolla FX production begins at New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI) in U.S.
1987 May Sixth generation launched
1988 Nov. Production begins at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc.
1989 Oct. Production begins at Toyota Motor Philippines Corp.
15 millionth unit sold
1991 June Seventh generation launched
1993 Mar. Production begins at Indus Motor Company Ltd. in Pakistan
1994 Sept. – 20 millionth unit sold- Production begins at what is now Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey Inc. (TMMT)
1995 May Eighth generation launched
1996 Sept. Production begins at Toyota Motor Vietnam Co. Ltd.
Dec. Production at TMMT ends
1998 Mar. Production begins at PT. Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indonesia (TMMIN)
Aug. Production begins at Toyota do Brasil Ltda.’s Indaiatuba Plant
Sept. Corolla liftback production begins at Toyota Motor Manufacturing (U.K.) Ltd.
1999 July Production at TMCA ends
2000 Aug. Ninth generation launched
25 millionth unit sold
2001 Mar. Production begins at Kuozui Motor Ltd. in Taiwan
2003 Jan. Production begins at Kirloskar Motor Private Ltd. in India
Oct. Production at TMMIN ends
2004 Feb. Production begins at Tianjin FAW Toyota Motor Co., Ltd.’s (TFTM’s) Xiqing Plant in China
2005 30 millionth unit sold
2006 Oct. Tenth generation launched
Dec. Production at TMUK ends
2007 May. Production begins at TFTM’s TEDA Plant in China
Aug. Production at ASSB ends
Dec. Production at TMP ends
2009 35 millionth unit sold
2010 Apr. Production at NUMMI ends
2011 Oct. Production begins at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi Inc. in U.S.
2012 May – Production begins at what is now Toyota Motor East Japan, Inc.’s Ohira Plant in Miyagi Prefecture- Eleventh generation launched

– Production begins at Sichuan FAW Toyota Motor Co., Ltd.’s (SFTM’s) Changchun Plant in China

2013 June Production begins at TMMT
July – 40 millionth unit sold- Production at SFTM ends


NOTE: “Corolla” refers to vehicles sold under the Corolla name, as listed below. Models sold currently are listed in bold.

Japan: Corolla Axio, Corolla Fielder, Corolla Rumion, Corolla sedan, Corolla van, Corolla coupé, Corolla Levin, Corolla Hardtop, Corolla Liftback, Corolla wagon, Corolla FX, Corolla Ceres, Corolla Spacio, Corolla Runx

Outside Japan: Corolla (sedan, wagon, hatchback), Corolla EX, Corolla Altis, Corolla Millenium, Corolla Verso, Corolla Matrix