The launch of the new Corolla last year has enabled the brand, which is the world’s largest-selling car, to reclaim its leadership position in the executive sedan segment in India from Hyundai Elantra.
Corolla’s sales surged 195% to 9,137 units in 2014-15 compared to the year ago, putting it comfortably ahead of Hyundai Elantra’s 2,938 units during the year (down 48% over the previous year). Hyundai had launched the Elantra in mid 2012 and it has been the segment leader ever since.
“The new Corolla marked a departure at Toyota in terms of styling, an area where there was a perception that we were weak,” said N Raja, director and senior vice-president, sales and marketing, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Ltd. “We have seen a steady rise in sales after the launch of the new car in May last year.”
The segment has suffered in the wake of intense competition in the mid-size sedan group, which sits just below it with the entry of new cars such as Honda City and Maruti Ciaz. Even with the growth, Corolla’s sales were only a shade above its peak sales of 2011-12.
While the next generation Elantra is slated to come to India only next year, the company gave the model a mid lifecycle facelift last month.
“We have refreshed both our sedans — 4S Verna and Elantra — this year and I am confident that in a few months sales will grow for these,” said BS Seo, CEO, Hyundai Motor India.