Toyota won’t change Auris’ name back to Corolla for European market

Article by Anita Panait, on May 29, 2012

Toyota will continue using the name Auris for its hatchback compact car in Europe, dispelling speculations that the Japanese car manufacturer will revert to using the name Corolla. Toyota used to call the Auris, it no. 2 best-seller in Europe, the Corolla until it dropped the name in 2007.

A Toyota spokesman confirmed to Automobilwoche, that the company will still call the model as Auris in Europe, adding that the Japanese carmaker is satisfied with the model awareness it achieved using the name.

Toyota, though, uses the Corolla name for the sedan version of the compact car being sold in the continent. The Japanese carmaker also uses the Corolla name in other markets outside Europe, including the United States.

In 2007, the company dropped the Corolla name for the hatchback and began using Auris as Toyota implemented a restyle and added upscale features. The company hoped that the Auris would be a strong threat to cars like the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Opel Astra in the compact segment.

However, the Auris needs first to improve its sales figures. For the first four months of 2012, sales of the Auris were down 27 percent year-on-year in Europe, to 27,722, according to JATO Dynamics market researchers.

The leader of compact segment, the Golf, suffered a 3.8 percent year-on-year dip in sales for the first four months of 2012 to 161,753, down 3.8 percent. In 2011, Toyota just posted a 0.5 percent annual increase in Auris sales to 95,265 units.

Toyota is planning to unveil an Auris concept at the Paris auto show in September.  The carmaker will then unveil a production-ready car of the model at Geneva auto show in March 2013, after which it will be rolled out for sale. The public is specifically looking out for the Auris concept in September, since its styling and features could become the benchmark for Toyota’s future products.

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