AMERICA 123· Registered
Corolla Confronts Sales Slowdown
Rare Stumble Surprises Industry as New Model Fails to Win Young Buyers
By Jean Halliday
Published: June 23, 2008
DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- The Toyota Corolla looks to be running out of gas.
While it's still America's fifth-best-selling car < only if you include the MATRIX>, in the first five months of this year, the brand hit a rare bump.
Automotive News figures show that combined sales of Corolla and Matrix, a hatchback based on the Corolla sedan, slipped to 152,308 units vs. 165,722 for the same period a year ago.
And in fact, despite a new model introduced with great fanfare during the Super Bowl, Corolla is being outsold by the older Honda Civic, redone in 2006.
Experts blame a number of factors, including uninspired design of the new 2009 model and a flawed ad strategy that didn't resonate with Corolla's target audience.
And while Corolla is maintaining customers, the new model isn't drawing new ones.
Corolla will be more than stale - in less than a year - maybe by this fall.Then there's the issue of Corolla's aging consumer base. "I'm not convinced the advertising is going to bring in new buyers" for Corolla, Strategic Vision's Mr. Edwards said. He said the average age of the Corolla driver has risen every year since 2006, when it was 49, to this year's 52. Ditto for Yaris, whose average buyer age rose to 48 from 44 last year.
"I don't think Toyota is immune to pitfalls," he said