Call it the tale of two compacts. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. will use a two-pronged marketing approach to launch its new compact entries, the Toyota Corolla and its hip and stylish sibling, the Toyota Matrix.
The company will target more traditional subcompact buyers in the 25-to-35 age range with the Corolla, while courting mostly single buyers aged 20 to 30 with the Matrix.
Both cars are built on the same platform. But the Matrix has more sport-utility characteristics, such as a taller roofline and fold-down rear seats. It also has an edgier appearance.
The dual marketing strategy was conceived six years ago when Toyota was launching the previous-generation Corolla. The company recognized that the compact market was changing: Traditional buyers wanted a sedan with more premium features, while younger buyers wanted a functional, stylish and low-priced crossover vehicle.
"Our feeling was there's a new definition required to attract the youth and sporty crowd within the Corolla context," said Steve Sturm, vice president of marketing for Toyota Motor Sales. "We felt we were well represented in the two- and three-door market with the Echo and Celica. With Matrix's body style, configuration and utility, we thought we could carve out a new market that didn't exist (six years ago) to take advantage of youth and to take advantage of the product and price they wanted."