The new Corolla is a key part of Toyota's plan to sell 800,000 cars annually in western Europe by 2005.
The competitor for such models as the Volkswagen Golf and Fiat Stilo debuted at last month's Frankfurt auto show and goes on sale in early 2002. Toyota expects to sell 200,000 units a year, compared to about 136,000 annually for the outgoing model.
Altogether, Toyota sold 540,590 cars in western Europe in 2000.
The Corolla will be available with a choice of six engines, including two common-rail diesels. Model variants are three- and five-door hatchbacks, sedan, station wagon and Verso - a future compact minivan. All versions except the Verso will be built in Europe.
The Corolla's platform is new, with a wheelbase of 2600mm - 136mm longer than the outgoing model. But the new car's overall length has not increased much.
The new Corolla was designed at Toyota's former EPOC studio in Brussels. EPOC won a competition against Toyota's Calty studio in California, the Tokyo Design Center and Toyota's studio in Toyota City, Japan. The project started in 1997.
The initial design was for a sedan.
'That is the most important model, accounting for about 50 percent of the Corolla's annual global sales volume of nearly 1 million,' said Wahei Hirai, president of Toyota Europe Design Development (ED2) in Nice, France.
'We were deeply involved in the project from an early stage, so that we could include packaging in our design proposals,' he said. 'It was a simultaneous process with the engineering people, just as with the Yaris.'
John McLeod, who was also involved in early design work for the Yaris supermini, made the initial Corolla sketches.
'But the rest of the process was really team work,' said Hirai.
McLeod left Toyota a year ago and now works for Ford.
The three- and five-door hatchback versions of the Corolla were also styled in Europe.
'Hatchbacks are typical for this part of the world, so we took on their design as well,' said Hirai.
The Verso was designed in Japan.
Hatchback versions of the Corolla are built in Burnaston, England. Sedan and station wagon versions are produced in Turkey.
Toyota also has increased local content for the Corolla models built in Europe.
Launch: Pan-European in early 2002
Platform: All-new Corolla platform
Segment: Lower medium and compact minivan
Price: To be announced in December
Competitors: Fiat Stilo, VW Golf, Renault Megane and Scenic, Opel Astra and Zafira, Peugeot 307
Engines: 1.4-liter, 97hp; 1.6-liter, 110hp; 1.8-liter, 135hp and 192hp; 2.0-liter common-rail diesel 90hp and 110hp; all four-cylinder
Dimensions: Common wheelbase 2600mm; overall length 4180mm (hatchback), 4240mm (Verso), 4385mm (sedan and wagon); overall width 1710mm (hatchback, sedan and wagon), 1750mm (Verso); overall height 1475mm (hatchback), 1610mm (Verso), 1470mm (sedan and wagon)