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Paris show: Toyota Corolla wagon not for Oz

Off the wagon: Toyota Australia is unlikely to import the Euro-oriented new-generation Corolla wagon.

UK-only sourcing rules out Toyota’s new Corolla wagon for Australia


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1 Oct 2012


TOYOTA has announced it will not offer a wagon version of its new-generation Corolla in Australia in the foreseeable future.

The news follows the global public reveal of the Auris Touring Sports wagon at last week’s Paris motor show (Auris is the European name for Corolla).

Speaking to GoAuto in Paris, Toyota Motor Europe senior manager of product planning and marketing Paul Dodd cited unfavourable exchange rates and costly shipping as the main stumbling blocks for the new small wagon.

“You know, I would love to sell the Touring Sports in Australia,” he said, “but as it will only be built in the United Kingdom I believe it won’t be made available to you.

“As a result, Toyota in Australia is likely to reject the Auris wagon.”

Intended mainly for European Union consumption, the wagon is expected to account for up to 25 per cent – or about 65,000 units – of the 150,000 sales forecast annually for the new series Auris.

Aimed expressly at wagon versions of the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, Opel Astra, Renault Megane, Hyundai i30 and Kia Ceed, the Auris Touring Sports is 285 mm longer than the five-door Corolla hatch that will make its local debut at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney on October 18, but shares the same 2600mm wheelbase.

All of the length increase is dedicated to extending load space, with a stretched roofline and new tailgate, while the load space itself features a sill that is set 80mm lower than the five-door vehicle to aid access.

Otherwise, from the B-pillar forwards the wagon is identical to the hatch from which it spawned.

Toyota Europe elected to display the Touring Sport in HSD full hybrid powertrain guise, consisting of a petrol engine and electric motor, making the Auris the only C-segment combatant in Europe to offer petrol, petrol electric, and diesel drivetrain options.

Interestingly, while the 1.3-litre petrol and 1.4-litre turbo-diesel models are underpinned by a torsion beam rear suspension system, the 1.6-litre petrol, 2.0-litre turbo-diesel and HSD Auris variants feature a more sophisticated double wishbone arrangement.

Australian-bound Corolla hatches – built in Japan – are expected to continue with the simpler torsion beam design, while the long-serving 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine now delivering 103kW of power will continue to drive the front wheels.

This engine will be matched to either a six-speed manual or – for the first time ever in the 46-year range’s history in Australia – a CVT Continuously Variable Transmission, in lieu of the outmoded four-speed automatic gearbox.

Other generational changes over the outgoing 150-series Corolla/Auris include “smarter” packaging, higher-quality interior materials, better weight management, lower airflow drag, improved dynamics, reduced fuel consumption and emissions ratings, and a longer, lower, and sharper visage than the rather upright old model.

Speaking of the venerable Toyota’s styling, Mr Dodd has described the upcoming (and as-yet still-secret) Corolla sedan due in the third or fourth quarter of next year as “far more stylish” than its predecessor, and even “more dynamic looking” than the latest Camry.

It is believed that the United States is driving the design and packaging of the Corolla sedan, though development is being undertaken in Japan.

“The sedan is a bit like the latest Camry – but even more youthful,” Mr Dodd added.

Toyota last sold a Corolla wagon in Australia with the 120-series from 2001 to 2007, and acted as a replacement for the locally made Camry wagon.

There were wagon versions of most locally built Corollas available from the series’ inception in 1966 until the switch to front-wheel drive in 1985 – which saw the last Australian-built Corolla wagon.

Since the mid-‘90s, the burgeoning compact SUV segment has stymied demand for this sort of bodystyle Down Under.

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