It was an eventful day on 17th December at the Eko Hotels, V/I, Lagos when Nigeria Auto Journalists Association (NAJA) gave awards to different car brands in different categories of awards. The award night was witnessed by the representatives of the Director-General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Aliyu Jelani and the representative of the Corp Marshal of the Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC) as special guests was well attended by many Chief Executive Officers and other stakeholders in the nation’s automotive sector.
In one of the award categories for 2019, Toyota Corolla won the Car of The Year (COTY) Award, beating Hyundai Tucson and GAC GS4 SUV, a Chinese brand, Naijadriva reports.
The Toyota Corolla has dominated automobile sales for decades and holds the title of being the best-selling nameplate in the world, having sold more than 47.65 million (as of August 2019) vehicles since its introduction in 1966. As at August 22 2019, a total of 9.6 Million Corollas was sold this year alone. Corollas’ great reputation for quality and dependability keep them in high demand. Worldwide, Toyota Corolla as at 2019 hold 1.4% of all the cars sold this year. The Corolla is currently in its 12th design generation, that is, the 2020 model.
For Nigerian auto consumers who mostly buy older models, they consider the following reasons when buying Corolla, no matter the model year:
1. Fuel economy: As the economy is seeming biting hard on some Nigerians, fuel economy is a consideration when choosing a car to buy. A car that takes relatively lesser fuel to transport Nigerians is favoured. You can even hear some car owners brag how long distances specific litres of petrol can take them. You will hear statements like, “If I buy 1000 Naira fuel, My Corolla can take me from Mile 2 to Ibadan”. Also, a car that consumes less fuel also reduces carbon emissions, which is important to environmentally conscious auto buyers, especially in US and other countries. The Toyota Corolla has consistently provided a fuel-efficient vehicle for drivers, and the newest models are no exception.
The 2020 Corolla getsfor lower trims, which are equipped with the smaller 1.8-liter unit are rated at 29/39 mpg (8.1/6 L/100 km) with the manual or 30/38 mpg (7.8/6.2 L/100 km) with the optional CVT. The more powerful 169-hp 2.0-liter actually gets you better mileage than the smaller engine at 31/38 mpg (7.6/6.2 L/100 km) for the XSE and 31/40 mpg (7.6/5.9 L/100 km) in other model, making it a very fuel-efficient vehicle.
2. Competitive price: Toyota Corolla has been sold as an affordable car that is one of the reasons that it is ubiquitous. It is true that our Naira value has dipped thereby driving up the prices of cars but let us take the 2005 Toyota Corolla for example, a fairly used costs about 1.9m to 2.1 million Naira. In Nigeria now, no decent car costs less than 1 million Naira. Is it Honda Civic or which one?
3. Value: Even though Corollas are may be criticized as having bland interiors and so on but Toyota designers put in value in it as much as possible by using quality upholstery and interior materials, adding some features and options usually found in more expensive vehicles, and ensuring that the car is still reliable.
4. Resale value: As anyone who has ever tried to resell a vehicle that they bought brand new or faily used knows, a sharp depreciation in value occurs between the time they drive it off the new car stand, especially when you have registered it, and the time you want to sell it. The Toyota Corolla has a strong record of holding its resale value.
Let us take for example, you can hardly buy a Nigerian used 2005 Toyota Corolla less than 1.3million Naira, no matter if you have driven it for 10 years. Compare this side by side with a 2005 Honda Civic, which you may not sell up to 650,000 Naira, (losing almost 50% of its value, no matter whether you didn’t own it up to a year or not).
5. Safety: Any model year of the Corolla are well known for being exceptionally safe. The 2020 Toyota Corolla has a perfect five-star overall crash test safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Corolla it’s highest designation of “good” for nearly all crash test evaluations. This isn’t the first year the Corolla has gotten top safety ratings, and it won’t be the last. Families can trust the Toyota Corolla to help them arrive safely at their destination, wherever it may be.
6. Simplicity: In an era where many vehicle dashboards are beginning to look like the control panels for war gadget with instruction in a foreign language, the Corolla keeps it simple. That’s not to say the Corolla lacks technology; new Corollas have many great electronic safety and entertainment features. Where the Corolla differs from its rivals is in the user-friendliness of its tech options. Corolla interiors take a minimalist approach to design.
7. Reliability: This virtue, above all others, is likely what keeps auto consumers coming back time and time again to purchase Toyota Corollas. Toyota does an excellent job in manufacturing a mechanically sound vehicle in the Corolla. Toyota Corollas typically have very few recalls or reported problems. Many owners report that, other than changing the oil and replacing the spark plugs and brake pads, they have few repair costs. Many Corollas with 400,000 kilometers or more on the odometer are still on the road, and Corollas are often the fastest sellers at used car dealers in Nigeria.
8. Availability of Parts: If you have owned cars like Volvo and so on, you would understand better. If some cars break down, you would either park it until the parts is sourced from Lagos or Alaoji, Aba. Worse still is if it breaks down on the road, if you do not tow it and park it in a safe place, before you source the parts and return, the tires, car stereo or brain box may be stolen. This can increase the cost of fixing your car. The parts of Toyota Corollas however, can be sourced easily, since there are more people who own Corollas in almost any State in Nigeria.
9. Availability of Mechanics: I drive a Volvo S40, nice car but the issue is that to get a Volvo mechanic is hard. If you allow a roadside mechanic to repair some faults, he might compound the problem. In Abuja for example, good Volvo mechanics are not up to 5 and they are at Apo Mechanic village. This can make car repairs expensive. This is not so with Toyota Corollas. Any “Japanese mechanic” littered everywhere will most likely fix your Corolla.
10. Ease of Resale: I have owned and sold three cars, first a 1994 Toyota Corolla, then a 2000 Kia Shuma and a 1999 Honda Civic. Of all these cars, the one I sold well is the Toyota Corolla, after driving it for years. The Kia resale value was worst and ease of sale was bad. It didn’t take me 5 days to sale the Corolla (in the early 2000’s), took 1 month to sell the Honda Civic and about 2 months to sell the Kia Shuma. Imagine you need cash to sort out an issue or want to buy another car, As soon you put any recent model of Corolla (not 1980’s model) for sale, prospective car buyers would start calling and bargaining with you, even from the first day and you can sell it that very day.
All the listed reasons above makes Toyota Corollas endeared to the hearts of car owners, organisations, transporters/transport companies like Uber/Taxify and car enthusiasts alike.
Do you agree?