The Toyota Land Cruiser is one of the most recognizable and legendary vehicles of all time. It first arrived on the scene to the United States as a 1958 model. Since, then it built-up a reputation of off-road capability, reliability, and longevity. There is a rumor spreading this week that Toyota will discontinue the Land Cruiser (at least in the United States) after the 2022. Toyota officially did not confirm or deny this.
I say the Land Cruiser should not go away, but be reborn instead! Here is why.
Toyota Land Cruiser
The U.S.-spec Land Cruiser has evolved into a very expensive 4×4 full-size SUV. Its starting price is near $85,000. It’s really a stealthy display of wealth by its owners. Still, it’s largely hand-built at a factory in Japan, and it’s built to last. We (at TFL) know this first hand because we own a 2008 Land Cruiser with over 150,000 miles on the clock. This 2008 truck still drives and handles as if it was brand new.
Currently, Toyota is selling on average 268 Land Cruisers per month in the U.S. This is tiny and very exclusive numbers compared to any other SUV or truck. However, Toyota seems to be content with this, while the Land Cruiser sales continue to grow. It’s about almost 10% in 2019, compared to the same time period in 2018.
Discontinuing the Land Cruiser in the near future does not make sense to me simply because there is a very strong trend toward large and capable Overland off-road vehicles. Toyota is in the middle of this fight right now with their growing TRD Pro lineup of trucks and SUVs. Competition continues to invest in this space as well. Ford is working on the next generation of the Bronco. Jeep is very successful with the Wrangler and Gladiator. Jeep is planning to introduce a full-size Grand Wagoneer SUV that could also be very off-road worthy.
Toyota has name recognition with the Land Cruiser, thus it need to be reborn. However, it needs to be a lot more accessible and be produced in greater numbers. There is a great opportunity for Toyota to redesign the Land Cruiser with retro-inspired styling and massive off-road prowess. There is also an opportunity to make it more fuel efficient, and produce it with a lot fewer luxury features for a lower entry price.
Remember the FJ Cruiser? It was a relatively successful SUV for Toyota. Perhaps, it went away because it simply did not offer enough everyday friendly usability.
What do you think? Please let us know in the comments below. You can also join TFLnow Live show for more discussion about this.