Crown Motors turned on the glamour for last weekend's Hong Kong launch of the 2003 Toyota Corolla, the latest version of the world's best-selling car, at the New World Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui. There were pretty women, the entire Toyota range, the Japanese marque's FXS concept sports car (right) plus chief engineer, Takeshi Yoshida. The dealer's senior marketing and communications manager, Yvonne Kwok, says Crown Motors has already received 100 orders for the 1.5-litre Corolla, the smaller brother of the punchier 1.8-litre versions being launched worldwide. But if the 2003 Corolla's new, smiley grille, 15-inch alloy wheels and more powerful headlight configuration keep Honda Civic owners on their toes, the surge of local interest in the new Toyota saloon seems as much a tribute to Crown's reputation for service and customer retention as to the new-look car. Watch the small print in the Corolla's launch advertising. What the Toyota dealer's ads didn't mention in Apple Daily last weekend is that a manual Corolla sells for the quoted $109,900, but an automatic version is $10,000 extra, a sales rep says, or $14,000 more with the sunroof that seems standard in the car's full-page promotion. Crown Motors could be more up-front in its pricing. The hint of extras might have lured punters to cars in kinder times, but the ploy might irritate even loyal Toyota families in Hong Kong, who dare not splurge like they used to. The six-speed manual FXS stole the Corolla's limelight, however. Launched at the Tokyo Motor Show last year, the 4.3-litre, 32-valve, V8 concept roadster is Toyota's answer to the new Nissan 350 Z and Mazda RX-8 roadsters. But you'll either love or loathe - as we do - its bulbous design and aggressive three-spoke 18-inch wheels. Toyota project general manager Shigeaki Sugawara, of the marque's Tokyo design division, is quoted on the Car Design News Web site saying: 'There is DNA from the 1967 Toyota 2000GT, but the FXS has an individual style - an original design that's simple and sexy. The package pushes the four wheels to the corners of the car and the centre of gravity is as low as possible for very good stability.' With a midnight blue interior, an art deco dash and dubbed 'Toyota's Batmobile' by some motorheads, the FXS 'eschews a cab-forward approach for a more traditional long hood/short deck look epitomised by the likes of the 68 Corvette, 63 Jaguar XKE and Toyota's own 2000GT', the site says. 'Viewed from above, the retro-inspired FXS also brings to mind Chevrolet's Corvair-powered Monza SS show car of the mid-60s, as well as the Honda SSM concept first shown at the 95 Tokyo Motor Show.' What do you think of the FXS? E-mail Foot Down at: firstname.lastname@example.org . Meanwhile, Reliance Motors is offering its 2003 Honda Stream for $185,000, with Xenon headlamps, side airbags, free perforated leather seats, wooden panel, door trim and shift knob and a Kenwood CD MP3 player. The dealers are also giving away a special sports and leather-seat kit worth $22,000 to buyers of the 1.7-litre ($159,000) and 2.0-litre Stream ($185,000). Other deals include the slashing of the cost of extras on the 2.5-litre, seven-seater Nissan Serena. Originally worth $13,800, the new Serena deal includes leather upholstery, a multi-coloured backlit Kenwood 10-CD system, interior curtains and rain visors, all for $4,800. Taikoo Asian Motors is offering the Hyundai Trajet, the seven-seater used to carry 2002 World Cup players in South Korea, for $129,800. Jebsen Motors maintains its slash-and-burn Renault pricing with the 1.6-litre, four-door saloon Megane Classic down from $118,000 to $89,000. The 1.4-litre Clio drops further from $93,000 to $79,000 and the chic two-litre, seven-seater Espace tumbles by $20,000 to $199,000. But deal of the week is Lion Motors' offer for Europe's 2002 Car of the Year, the zippy, roomy Peugeot 307 for $139,900, representing a saving of $15,100. It appears there is better new-car value in French leftovers than new Japanese models, but the cost-cutting illustrates Hong Kong dealerships' propensity to mark up prices at launches, then offer 'savings deals' six months later.