On this day 50 years ago, Toyota sent out this press release: “The Toyota Corolla is a five-passenger vehicle from Japan that is positioned as the ‘most accessible car’ in the market. In the development of the Corolla, Toyota’s engineers have spent years bringing together the best of the company’s technologies to offer to the public.”
Who could have guessed that such banal words would launch what would become the biggest-selling car in the history of the world?
Fifty years later, Toyota has sold 44 million Corollas in just about every market on the planet, including the AE86 doriftu model and a whole bunch of far-less exciting but thoroughly utilitarian cars, getting young families to work and school for generations.
Toyota put up a nice website in Japan (also available in English) to commemorate the 11 generations of Corolla. Part of the website includes memories shared by the chief engineers of all 11 generations of the car. Shiro Sasaki was chief engineer for the second- and third-generation Corolla but was assistant engineer on the first-gen car, which was positioned between the bare-bones Publica and the more upscale Corona.