The Corolla turns 50

In November 1966 a new car hit the Japanese market. Legendary automotive journalist Brock Yates wrote in Car & Driver that the name, Corolla, ensured the new car was meant for markets other than Japan.

Sure enough, two years later, in 1968, the car reached the United States.

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Fifty years and 43 million sales after its debut, the Toyota Corolla is the best-selling automotive nameplate in history. That’s more than the Ford F-series pickup, which was introduced in 1948, the Volkswagen Beetle or the Ford Model T.

The Corolla is still going strong. Last year, Toyota sold more than 363,000 Corollas in the U.S. market. It was the second-best-selling passenger car in America after its larger sibling, the Camry.

Worldwide Corolla sales totaled about 1.5 million and it is truly a global car – it’s built in 15 plants around the world.

Toyota kicked off a year-long birthday celebration at the New York International Auto Show. In June, a restored 1970 Corolla join the Great Race, which crisscrosses the U.S. from San Rafael, California to Moline, Illinois. Toyota will share drivers’ stories covering a half-century of the Corolla ownership.

Of course, there will be a special edition car, a limited-edition 2017 Corolla SE that will be on the market in the fall of this year. Toyota plans to offer just 8,000 for the U.S. market.

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The package includes choice of three exterior colors: Classic Silver, Blizzard Pearl and Black Cherry, an exclusive color for the 50th Anniversary car. All colors get special exterior badging and 17-inch alloy wheels.

The black interior has Black Cherry contrast stitching on the seats, steering wheel, shift boot and armrest. There are also Black Cherry accents on the dashboard and door panels as well as 50th Anniversary floor mats.

A special package of extras is standard on the special Corolla, including Toyota’s Entune audio system with navigation and a 7-inch touch screen, smart key with push button start and LED headlights.

To learn more about the Corolla’s history, visit the special Toyota Global website.

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