The Japanese giant has been struggling for a very long time to attract younger buyers and is now considering a 5-door variant of its latest generation of the long-record Corolla nameplate.
Senior Toyota executives in the United States and Japan have not yet signed off on the project, even though the idea has been discussed inside the company in some detail and they can easily make a U.S. variant of the European Auris (which took over as a hatchback nameplate from Corolla).
“Nothing is envisioned, ” at this point, said Shinici Yasui, the chief engineer responsible for the Corolla, the sedan version of which has gone through a complete redesign for the 2014 model-year.
“Corolla’s new design theme was “Iconic Dynamism,” which is functionally sound design direction that has an immediate, dynamic impression and reflects an image relatable to younger drivers,” the project leader said.
Nonetheless, Yasui indicated that Toyota was concerned about the opinions of younger buyers who have been showing a renewed interest in hatchbacks – a body style particularly popular in both Europe and Japan. And a few key models, such as the hot-selling Chevrolet Sonic and Spark, as well as the Ford Fiesta, have shown the potential for bringing three- and five-door body styles to the U.S.