Toyota ditches Corolla badge

Published: 30 July 2006

The Corolla brand is going the same way as Oldsmobile, Jif and Marathon – to the knacker's yard.

It may be the most venerable nameplate in motoring history, but Toyota is ditching the Corolla badge in western Europe. The latest incarnation of the Japanese family car will be unveiled at the Paris motor show in September 2006, but it won't be wearing the Corolla logo.

Insiders admit the brand has become synonymous with dull cars here. They don't want to handicap the new model with such baggage, in a bid to broaden its appeal beyond the pensioner and bank manager stereotypes. Toyota is hoping to transform the sex appeal of the new hatch, as Honda has managed with its sci-fi new Civic.

The word corolla describes the ring of petals in a flower. Toyota adopted it for its 1966 small saloon, and after nine generations and more than 30m sales, the name is bowing out in Europe. But the Corolla name will live on in other markets, including Japan.

No word yet on the new badge, but it should prove less bonkers than some of Toyota's current clunkers: Belta, Funcargo, Kluger, Mark II Blit, Noah, Probox, Ractis and Windom all feature in today's global line-up.

By Phil McNamara

Editor-in-chief of CAR magazine

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