Toyota is preparing a major attack on the European fleet market with all-new replacements for the Corolla and Camry.
Designed and developed in Europe, the new Corolla gives Toyota a full C-sector model range for the first time. Fleets will be able to choose from three- and five-door hatchbacks, a saloon, an estate and a new minivan called the Corolla Verso.
The new cars mark a fresh approach for Toyota, which in the past has been criticised for producing dull cars that misjudged the European market. Now industry analysts are predicting great things from Toyota Motor Europe as it follows up the huge success of the French-built Yaris supermini with the much-improved Corolla and Camry.
A senior Toyota source admitted the current Corolla had failed to make a major impact on the fleet market - but a massive effort had been made to ensure the new car would compete with the best European fleet cars.
'The car has been developed with the European market in mind, and focuses heavily on key criteria like design, quality, driving pleasure and innovation,' he said.
'Dashboard and interior trim have been designed to set a new prestige benchmark for the C-segment. Fleet customers will also be attracted by performance and fuel economy, while the new platform offers much improved interior space, comfort and better handling and ride.'
The new Camry also benefits from a significant redesign. Toyota says it offers more room, refinement and features than many in its class.
Both cars will go on sale later this year after their debut at this month's Frankfurt Motor Show. (September 2001)