Celebrating the 50 Millionth Corolla Sold, & the Legendary Corolla History

Corolla family lineup

July 2021 was a big day for us here in the Toyota family, as the 50 millionth Corolla was sold worldwide! We’re proud to be a part of that incredible legacy for the Corolla, where here in Canada we’ve seen over 1.6 million Corollas sold as part of that momentous number. This milestone got us thinking about the long-tenured history of the Corolla, from its modest beginnings to its eventual ascent into the best selling model worldwide, and not only a Toyota landmark but one across the history of the automotive landscape. Follow along with us at Charlesglen Toyota as we dive into the extensive history of the Toyota Corolla through its generations, take a look into its growing family and its future ahead.

Browse more of our Corolla content online here:

2022 Toyota Corolla

2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross

Introducing the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross

50 Millionth Toyota Corolla Sold in July 2021

It has taken 12 generations and over 55 years, but July 2021 will forever live in infamy in both Toyota and automotive circles as the time when the 50 millionth Corolla was sold worldwide. A true global phenomenon, Canada is proud to represent over 1.6 million of those Corolla sales, speaking to its wide reach across the world as a popular model for people of all countries. The Corolla was first introduced to the world in 1966, not arriving in Canada until 1969, and has continually been a dependable and trusted car across the world through each of the following decades. 

History of the Toyota Corolla Through its Generations

The Corolla we know today obviously isn’t the first one we got to know in the 1960s, but it did act quickly in becoming a benchmark for its segment and one that has built its name off affordability and dependability, all with a personal flair. The latest 2022 edition continues to push forward in tech, style, comfort and more, but still with that base of a valued member of the family. Let’s take a look at how the Corolla got to this point, from 1969 to 2021 and over 50 million sold.


  • First Generation (1969 – 1970)


      • Debuting with a simple design as a coupe, four-door sedan or two-door wagon
      • Corolla Sprinter, featuring lower semi-fastback roofline would later debut
      • Short-stroke, 1077 cc overhead-valve four cylinder engine, four speed manual transmission
      • 60 horsepower, 0 to 100 km/h in 17 seconds


  • Second Generation (1971 – 1974)


      • Introduced longer wheelbase
      • Improved to 73 horsepower
      • First optional auto transmission
      • 1972 saw an SR-5 coupe with 88 horsepower, 1.6L engine, 5-speed manual transmission


  • Third Generation (1975 – 1979)


      • Gained in size
      • 1.2L, 1.3L and 1.3L engine options
      • Fastback coupe and liftback options added in 1976


  • Fourth Generation (1980 – 1984)


      • Distinct new angular design, focused on space and quietness
      • Canadian model got to 75 horsepower on its OHV 1.8L engine, and 90 horsepower on its OHC 1.6L engine


  • Fifth Generation (1985 – 1988)


      • Main edition switched to front-wheel drive
      • Front-drive engine became SOHC configuration
      • Rear drive Corolla came in coupe and hatchback
      • 1987 saw the introduction of a new hatchback model referred to as a “hot hatch” with its 4A-GE engine on its top FX16 GT-S level.
      • Rear-drive GT-S edition became famous for drifting and in video games.


  • Sixth Generation (1989 – 1992)


      • Now all front-wheel drive
      • All models had a 16-valve DOHC engine, four wheel independent suspension
      • All-Trac wagon and sedan had all-wheel drive
      • GT-S models saw sporty features, 4A-GE engine, unique wheels and body kit
      • GT-S had 135 horsepower on its ‘90-’91 edition.


  • Seventh Generation (1993 – 1997)


      • Only found in sedan and wagon style in Canada
      • Designed to look more like the Camry as the Camry moved up to midsize and the Corolla cabin size to compact
      • 1.6L and 1.8L engines were available
      • Became the best-selling car in history in 1997


  • Eighth Generation (1998 – 2002)


      • Added cabin space
      • Redesigned body to protect passengers from collisions, with side airbags available.
      • 1ZZ-FE 1.8L DOHC four-cylinder engine with VVT-i system debuted
      • 120 horsepower with improved fuel efficiency


  • Ninth Generation (2003 – 2008)


      • Saw its most spacious cabin ever, and thus got a bit longer and taller
      • Corolla S added a sporty body style and sport suspension
      • 130 horsepower engine saw a combined fuel economy rating of 7.4 L/100 km
      • Those with an extensive CD collection could enjoy the centre console box’s spacious 14 CD capacity
      • 2005 Corolla XRS saw 170 horsepower on its 2ZZ 1.8L engine, a six-speed manual transmission and sport suspension


  • Tenth Generation (2009 – 2013)


      • Sleeker and more spacious style, with an incredibly quiet cabin
      • XRS model came back, with 2.4L engine from the Camry that saw higher torque and quick responsiveness
      • Comfort and tech became a bigger focus, with a Premium package that saw features like power moonroof, six-disc CD changer, navigation, satellite radio and more
      • iPod connectivity, Bluetooth and steering wheel-mounted controls were added on high level models


  • Eleventh Generation (2014 – 2018)


      • Saw the debut of a new body design
      • Rear seat legroom improved over more midsize & full-size vehicles
      • 8 standard airbags
      • 2017 Corolla came standard with Toyota Safety Sense P
      • Upgraded interior materials gave the vehicle a premium look and feel
      • Further connective tech added like a touchscreen system, for iPod, USB and Bluetooth interaction
      • L and S trims came with six-speed manual transmission, while the CVT had an automatic


  • Twelfth Generation (2019 – Present)


    • Sport hatchback returned in 2019
    • 2020 saw a new sedan with a lower and more refined look.
    • Hybrid sedan model debuted, with combined fuel consumption of 4.5 L/100 km
    • 2.0L Dynamic Force engine found in the Corolla Hatchback, with 169 horsepower
    • Nightshade Special Edition, XSE sport and XLE grade offered for those who want a bit more out of their Corolla

Toyota Corolla Family Model Overview & the Future

Starting from humble beginnings, the Toyota Corolla started as a simple and affordable car model way back in 1969, and while it maintains those same core characteristics now, it has grown into an incredible family of vehicles. For 2022, the Corolla comes in both sedan and hatchback styles, as well as gas and hybrid options. There’s base L trims for those who want the core of a stylish yet affordable and dependable car that the Corolla was built on, and XLE and XSE trims that highlight the pinnacle of Corolla sport style, comfort and tech. Most exciting yet is the brand-new edition to the Corolla family for 2022 with the addition of the first-ever Corolla Cross, the new crossover Corolla, debuting yet another innovation in the world of Corolla.

Shop for a Toyota Corolla at Charlesglen Toyota

Whether you’ve had the unique pleasure of owning a Corolla over the years and its generations, or you’re entirely new to the wide world of Corollas, we here at Charlesglen Toyota have a wide variety in both our new and used inventory for you to shop. Online or in-person, we’re more than happy to answer any Corolla questions you may have, and assist you in finding the perfect Corolla model for you.