Toyota Launches Hybrid Corolla, Keeps It In Japan

Corolla Hybrid JDM Launch - Bertel Schmitt -127-2

Today, Toyota launched its hybrid version of the Corolla in Tokyo. It was done in the trademark frugal style of Toyota JDM car launches: A  sparse meeting room in the building that houses Japan’s auto manufacturer association JAMA, a PowerPoint projector, a small bottle of water per reporter, that was it. No smoke, no dancing girls, the cars had to be viewed outside in the driveway. If you are used to the hullabaloo of American car launches, you would have been shocked. If you are part of the Tokyo press corps, you don’t know it any other way. TMC’s  hefty profits have a few reasons, and cutting out of muda, elimination of the dreaded waste, is one of them.

Toyota’s 11th generation Corolla was launched onto the Japanese market  in May 2012, with a spiffier and bigger U.S. model following a few months ago, this time with American aplomb. Much to the chagrin of parts of the media, no hybrid versions of the Corolla were offered. Today, with as little fanfare as possible, this was changed. At least as far as the Japanese market is concerned. [Continue Reading]