No Corolla Diesel Or Wagon For Australia; Turbo Petrol A Possibility Photo:
Tony O'Kane | Oct, 24 2012 | 13 Comments

Diesel, hybrid and wagon versions of the new 11th-generation Corolla won't be coming to Australian showrooms any time soon, with Toyota declaring them too expensive for the local market.

However, a small-displacement turbocharged petrol engine could be on the cards.

Speaking to the media at the recent launch of the 2013 Corolla, Toyota Australia's head of product planning Greg Gardner said that the cost of importing the UK-built diesel Corolla would make local importation an uneconomical exercise.

"Diesel goes fairly well in trucks and SUVs and things like that, and that’s reflected by the sales figures in the [small car] market. [Sales] are very small in terms of diesel figures, about eight per cent of passenger car sales this year," Gardner said.

"And frankly, the cost of bringing it in is too high.”

Alongside the naturally-aspirated 1.8 litre petrol that is the sole engine choice for Australian Corollas, the European-market Auris is offered with a 1.4 litre and 2.0 litre turbodiesel, with 66kW and 91kW respectively.

Those power outputs might not sound like much next to the 1.8 petrol's 103kW peak power figure, but with the 1.4 diesel putting out 205Nm of torque and the 2.0 diesel developing 310Nm, both have more grunt than the 173Nm 1.8 petrol.

It's a similar story for the Auris Hybrid and Auris wagon.

Both are built alongside the diesel variants at Toyota's assembly plant in Derbyshire, England, and the cost of importing either means profit margins would either be unsustainably slim, or the retail price would be prohibitively high.

"I'd have to say at the moment that - given the exchange rate and associated costs - while I wouldn't rule anything out in the future, at this moment, [Hybrid Corolla] is not coming." Toyota Australia's executive director of sales and marketing, Matthew Callschor said.

Asked about the prospects for a locally-sold Corolla wagon derivative, Callechor said the outlook was the same.

"Same situation. It's manufactured in England as well so the cost structure means it's uneconomical for us to bring it in, in terms of positioning properly it in the range."

But while hybrids and diesels are off the menu for now, TMR can reveal that a sub-1.5 litre turbo petrol powertrain will likely make its way into the 11th-generation Corolla.

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Speaking to TMR, Project Manager for the 11th-gen Corolla Toshio Kanei revealed that a low-displacement turbocharged petrol engine was in the works.

Asked if the engine would be ready in time to be utilised by the 11th-generation Corolla, Kanei replied, "I believe so".

With ultra-stringent Euro VI emissions legislation set to come into effect in Europe by late 2014, a low-capacity turbocharged petrol engine would give the Corolla its best chance of meeting CO2 and particulate emissions requirements.

The Australian government has committed to adopting the same Euro VI legislation for new cars in mid-2017, by which point the current Corolla would still have around two years left in its life cycle.

With tighter emissions laws and in the absence of a fuel-sipping diesel or a pricier hybrid model, a turbocharged petrol Corolla would make the most sense for this market.

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