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Toyota has a long and illustrious history that began in 1937. Since then, there have been many models to come and go. Some were bland and forgettable, while others like the FJ Cruiser were so popular consumers are demanding that they be brought back. In the case of the Corona, it may not have a huge following, but it paved the way for more popular Toyota vehicles to be sold in the U.S.

The Toyota Corona had a long run

Toyota of Orlando reports that the Corona was first produced in 1957. It was finally retired worldwide in 2001, and saw 11 generations altogether.

Interestingly enough, it didn’t start off as the Corona. When it first arrived on American soil in 1961, it was known as the Toyopet. It wasn’t until 1964 that the name was changed. It was also known as the Toyota Tiara, although Corona would be the name that eventually stuck.

During this time period, the Toyota Crown was a popular model, but it was out of the budget for many American families. The Corona was cheaper, and therefore more accessible. The first generation was made using parts from the Crown and the Master.

Americans were able to get the second-generation Corona, which ran from 1960 to 1964. Toyota decided to discontinue the Corona in U.S. markets, but then brought it back after a redesign. 

Since then, it has grown in popularity. It came in many different forms, such as a coupe, hatchback, station wagon, two-door hard-top, and sedan. Because it was such a fuel-efficient vehicle, the Corona became very popular in the ’70s when fuel costs were so high. 

Tragically, Toyota made the decision to cut the Corona from the U.S. market in 1978. This was the sixth generation, so there were five more generations that Americans never got to enjoy.

The Corona is still a popular used model, as evidenced when a 1966 Toyota Corona was discovered in a barn in Seminole, Oklahoma. It actually sold for $14,500.

Finding one in a barn is probably a rare occurrence. Still, the Corona was a game changer in many ways.

The Corona was the first in many different categories

While there are many Toyotas to have been sold in the U.S., the Corona was the first. It sold over 20,000 units, and became the first-best-selling import brand in the U.S.

Americans quickly proved they were very eager to buy Japanese cars, and the Corona was given the 1969 Import Car of the Year Award from Road Test. It was also featured in the first Toyota commercial.

The Corona remained a popular choice amongst Americans until Toyota decided to pull it, much to many consumers’ dismay. Thankfully, there were other models to take its place.

Without the Corona, we wouldn’t have other Toyota models

The Corona proved that Americans would buy Toyotas. It had it’s fair share of ups and downs, but it was mostly good, and the Japanese automaker was more willing to bring models like the Corolla and the Camry to the U.S.

Would this have happened without the Corona? Car and Driver thinks so. In 2014, the review site stated that the Corona helped Toyota survive in the U.S. long enough to develop a firm foothold.

Now, Toyota is one of the top-selling brands in the world, and is often at the top of the many ‘best of’ lists. It’s known for its reliability, safety, and affordability. And this is all thanks in large part to a vehicle that is long gone, but never totally forgotten.


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