Why Toyota used an old name to bring new technology to drivers

Toyota targeted mainstream drivers wary of new tech and reluctant to be early adopters.

The renaming of Toyota’s Auris model as the Corolla brought back a name that may have been familiar to many Toyota drivers from the past, while spearheading a strategy to steer customers towards unfamiliar new technology.

The small family car – itself a declining market segment as buyers switch to SUVs and crossovers – was chosen to test Toyota’s strategy to emphasise hybrid models, and to increase production of them.

The plan meant Toyota would need to encourage 90% of Corolla buyers into the more expensive hybrid versions.

Along with the new name, the revived Corolla would boast new styling and improved specifications that sought to address critics who called the Auris dull.

But it would see a hefty price increase compared to the old model, with hybrid versions typically costing around €3,000 more than a petrol-powered Corolla.

A key consumer insight was that mainstream car buyers are keen not to be left behind by technology trends, even if they are reluctant to be early adopters.

The challenge for the 2019 launch of the Corolla was to communicate the tangible benefits of its hybrid technology, which offers lower emissions than purely petrol cars without some of the perceived range and charging limitations of fully-electric vehicles.

Toyota also wanted to address consumer misconceptions about hybrids, and to highlight conventional performance benefits rather than environmental ones.

The campaign message developed with The&Partnership – ‘Don’t get left behind. Keep moving with the Corolla Hybrid’ – summed up these concepts, with the creative treatment showing a Corolla passing a succession of historic and then modern vehicles, including an electric car that is stationary while it recharges.

Consumers got the message, with interest in and consideration of the Corolla jumping sharply, and sales increasing by a substantial 45% compared to the previous Auris model.

This all culminated in Toyota winning the 2020 Marketing Week Masters award for automotive.



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