The Father of the Corolla

Chief Engineer for the Original Corolla


Tatsuo Hasegawa was born February 1916 in Tottori City. After graduating from Tokyo University's Department of Aeronautics in 1939, Hasegawa joined the company Tachikawa Aircraft.

After World War II, in 1946, Hasegawa joined Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. As a Chief Engineer, he oversaw the development of the Publica, the Toyota Sports 800, the Corolla and the Celica.

Following this, Hasegawa went from being the Deputy General Manager of the Product Planning Division to being the General Manager of the division, where he oversaw general development of Toyota vehicles. In 1982, he retired from Toyota as a Senior Managing Director. In 2004, he was inducted into the Japan Automotive Hall of Fame.

Concept for the Toyota Corolla

Exceeding 80 Points Thinking

When the original Corolla went on sale, Mr. Hasegawa gave the following message in order to convey the vehicle's value to the public:
"In order to get a vehicle widely used as a family car, it has to satisfy customers in terms of its performance, comfort, feel, etc. Even if you satisfy all of these criteria, however, the vehicle still will be a flop if it costs too much for the general public or if its maintenance costs are too high. Furthermore, you can't reduce quality in order to reduce cost; every facet of the vehicle has to score 80 points or higher in order to satisfy customers. At the same time, though, a vehicle that scores 80 points for every part isn't that attractive of a vehicle. If the vehicle has some features that are clearly superior to those of other vehicles, then right from the start you can capture the customers' interest."
This was the thinking underlying the development of the Corolla, positioned as a new, high compact vehicle between the 800cc Publica and the 1500cc Corona and aimed at the family car market.
Then, in anticipation of the customers' needs, 'sporty-ness' was added to the Corolla for added value, a four-speed floor-shift transmission was boldly adopted instead of the three-speed column shift transmission common at the time, the dashboard meters were rounded, and the vehicle body was given a fresh, semi-fastback style in order to add to the Corolla's sporty, comfortable feel.

For Everyone on Earth

Because the Corolla is a global vehicle, there is a great deal of responsibility placed on it. These are the sentiments Mr. Hasegawa expressed to today's designers — utilize the Corolla for the happiness and well-being of everyone on Earth.
These are words of support expected to help everyone on Earth as they further work towards solving the problems of the 21st century.