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Can Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (TM)’s New Corolla Compete With Ford Motor Company (F)’s Focus?

Can Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (TM)'s New Corolla Compete With Ford Motor Company (F)'s Focus?

The 2014 Corolla has a revamped interior. Photo credit: Toyota

Overall, the interior looks like an upgrade over the old car’s, with nicer materials and a clean design. It has to be, because that’s one place where expectations have been seriously elevated in this segment. Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM)’s interiors are always well-assembled and functional, but the materials in the old car were kind of Tupperware-ish – good enough in 2008, but not close to the near-luxury-car finish found in newer entrants like the Focus and General Motors (NYSE:GM)‘ Chevy Cruze.

The new car steps up on the high-tech front as well – but again, that’s part of the price of entry in this segment now. A touchscreen audio system with Bluetooth will be offered, along with other techy features like a backup monitor, and it’ll be the first compact car to come standard with LED headlights.

Toyota being Toyota, the new Corolla will offer a selection of well-thought-out, but conservative, drivetrains, including an “Eco” line that will have a more efficient, 1.8-liter engine and other changes to attain a highway rating of 40 miles per gallon or better.

But is it all enough?

It won’t rock the world, but it should get the job done for Toyota
To my eyes, this new Corolla isn’t at all a game changer. It doesn’t make the hot cars in this segment look irrelevant, or even like yesterday’s news. It doesn’t even really offer much beyond Honda (NYSE:HMC)‘s recently revamped Civic. And it’s unlikely to make a big dent in the sales gains Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has been posting with its Focus.

But I don’t think it needed to be a game changer. I think it just needed to update Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM)’s game in a segment where the game has already changed in a big way since the last Corolla, and it needed to do that while keeping Toyota loyalists happy. In that sense, it’ll probably do just fine.

I can’t say I’m wild about the styling. That grill is just… well, I don’t think it makes the statement that CEO Akio Toyoda might have had in mind. But I think it’ll get the job done for Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM), and give it something of a boost in a segment where it had been seen as falling behind.

What do you think? Is this new Corolla a strong contender? Or did Toyota miss the mark? Scroll down to leave a comment and let me know.

The article Can Toyota’s New Corolla Compete With Ford’s Focus? originally appeared on

Fool contributor John Rosevear owns shares of Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and General Motors. Follow him on Twitter at @jrosevear. The Motley Fool recommends Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F).

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