Will 2020 Toyota Corolla Success Depend On Minorities?

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Not everyone is anxious to buy crossovers.

The all-new 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan is a far more stylish vehicle inside and out than the one it replaces. Question is, will this be good enough in the current car market where crossovers, such as Toyota’s own hot-selling RAV4, continue to outpace sedan sales? Will the Corolla eventually meet the same fate as one of its chief US rivals, the Ford Focus? Hopefully not, and according to Automotive News, Toyota believes there’s a specific but large group of potential buyers out there. Who are they? African-American, Asian and Hispanic consumers. Toyota’s senior manager of small- car marketing in the US, Sam De La Garza, says the automaker needs “to get smarter on who we target."

"We’re developing ads right now that will target African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians and then total market. It’s exciting but also challenging. We have to tailor our message to these four different audiences.” But why would these communities be more willing to buy a sedan instead of a crossover? De La Garza said some believe that “’minorities are just late to the trend,’ but I don’t choose that way to look at it… They’re looking for quality and they’re looking for value. They’re also looking for a car that they trust.” The Toyota Corolla has always boasted excellent reliability and value, so De La Garza’s strategy could work very well.

To further that point, Automotive News says that IHS Markit registration data shows the Corolla as being a stronger seller in ethnic groups only this past August. For example, the Corolla ranks 11th overall for the industry as a whole, but comes in at No.2 among Hispanic buyers. What was No. 1? The Honda Civic, the Corolla’s longtime rival. The Corolla also came in at No. 6 among Asian buyers and No. 7 for African-Americans.

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The 12th generation Toyota Corolla sedan is built on the automaker’s global TNGA architecture, which also underpins a number of other Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Lower trim levels are powered by the same though updated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine from the previous generation model. SE and XSE trims will feature a new 2.0-liter with 169 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual or a CVT routes power to the front wheels. Pricing and availability have not been released, but don’t expect pricing to dramatically differ from the previous generation.

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