Toyota on Monday officially launched its Corolla sedan in the China market.
The Toyota stalwart will be offered in two 1.8 liter versions -- the GL-i, priced at $21,135 (175,000 yuan), and the GLX-i at $22,800.
The Corolla will be built at the FAW-Toyota plant in Tianjin on the same line as the Vios compact, Toyota's first entry into China's passenger car market.
This year Toyota aims to sell 50,000 Corollas; it hopes that annual Corolla sales eventually reach 200,000.
During a Beijing press conference, Toyota and its joint venture partner First Auto Works took great pains to point out that the Corolla -- which was first introduced in 1966 -- now includes high tech safety equipment, a DVD/VCD/CD player and global satellite positioning.
The local content is already at 40 percent, allowing the Corolla to qualify for a lower tax rate. The engine is at 50 percent local content.
The China version of the Corolla will be the same as that sold in America and the rest of Asia, said Toshio Furutani, president of FAW-Toyota Motor Sales Co.
"It is a little wider than the Japanese and European version," he added.
In China, where according to AC Nielsen research size is one of the most important decision points in any price range, those few centimeters may mean extra sales.
Toyota has 96 showrooms and 26 repair-only shops in China.
Other foreign automakers have been bashed by the Chinese press for bringing what were perceived as out-of-date models to the China market.
Seemingly seeking to prove to the room full of local journalists that Toyota was bringing one of its most modern models to China, Au Ping, a chief engineer from Toyota Motor Corp, spent half an hour spelling out the technical details of the Corolla, complete with a slide show. During the presentation, a silver Corolla circled slowly on the stage behind him.
Toyota now builds five cars in China: the subcompact Vios; two versions of the Land Cruiser SUV; the small Dario Terios cross-over SUV/car; and the Corolla.