The Toyota Land Cruiser is one of the most capable SUVs on and off the road today. It’s also one of Toyota’s longest-running U.S. nameplates, but this week rumors have been circulating about its impending demise amid slowing sales. Toyota responded, but not in the most reassuring way.
First, here’s where it started—with a report from Motor Trend journalist and former Jalop Jonny Lieberman:
The current Land Cruiser in the U.S. market is indeed old, expensive and Toyota only sells a couple hundred of them a month, according to Good Car Bad Car data. (That part about Lexus not being profitable is interesting, but unconfirmed, and news to us.)
So is the Land Cruiser really no more? Here’s what Toyota had to say when I asked them:
“Land Cruiser is a global icon that embodies Toyota’s reputation for reliability, durability and capability. Although we cannot comment on future product, we can confirm that no decision has been made to stop sales of the Land Cruiser in the U.S. at this time.”
That was emailed to me by Toyota Product Communications Analyst Josh Burns, who I used to run into at off-road events from time to time when he was a 4x4 journalist in southern California.
The “no decision...at this time” could be interpreted to mean the Crusier’s around for the indefinite future, or, it’s here for now, and it is indeed coming off the board after 2022. We have heard a Land Cruiser total redesign is in the cards, since the current one’s been around since 2008.
I do kind of feel like, if there were no plans to cancel the Land Cruiser on Toyota’s radar, its reps could have just come out and said that. But they didn’t.
Obviously the enthusiast community has been complaining—noted Toyota restoration and retrofit expert Jonathan Ward of Icon 4x4 has been particularly vocal.
“Hey [Toyota],” he wrote at the end of a long Instagram post. “at least let me get my hands on the last 1000 units. I’ll build you ICON Editions and show you how this should have played out.” Ward, of course, is famous for turning out rebuilt Land Cruisers and other SUVs that are heavily modified and rebuilt selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars. So, actually, seeing him put his touch on a batch of 200-Series Cruisers would be kind of awesome.
It could also be argued that if the big, luxurious, expensive Land Cruiser dies in America, its name could live on in other markets as a more utilitarian vehicle—as it is now.
But meanwhile, we’ve got a perfectly good Land Cruiser for now, and since only a few thousand get sold every year, you shouldn’t have much trouble scooping one up if you’re keen to spend $90,000 on an excellent albeit archaic off-road adventure SUV.