My dealer says that a Geo Prizm is the EXACT same car as a Toyota Corolla. True or false?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Mar 01, 1995

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have been looking for a new car. I presently drive an '88 Toyota Corolla which has over 100,000 miles on it, so I'm afraid it might be ready to give out. The Chevrolet salesman told me that their Geo Prizm is the "same car" as the Toyota Corolla. Is this true? Does it have the same track record as the Toyota Corolla?

RAY: It IS true, Sara. We have to make a note of this. Every time a dealer tells a customer something that's true, we like to mark the date for the historical record.

TOM: Toyota and General Motors build cars together in a joint venture called NUMMI (New United Motor Manufacturing, Incorporated) in California. And that NUMMI plant builds, basically, one car.

RAY: Some of those cars are built for Toyota. Those are labelled "Corollas." Others are built for Geo, and they're called "Prizms." There are some cosmetic differences; different headlights, taillights, upholstery, etc. But mechanically, they're the same car, because all Geo Prizms and four out of five Corollas come off that very same assembly line.

TOM: So as you might expect, they have very similar mechanical track records. And it's not surprising that your Chevy dealer is the one who's bragging about this. If your Toyota dealer tried to sell you a Corolla by saying "it's got just as good a track record as a Chevrolet," THAT would be surprising.

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