Toyota is staging a global comeback for its Crown nameplate with an upcoming SUV model. The primary markets for the new Crown SUV will be Japan, China, and North America. This is according to a report by Reuters citing three sources who declined to be identified.
The Crown traces back its roots to 1955 and is Toyota’s longest-running passenger car nameplate. It is also the first Toyota vehicle exported to the United States in 1958. The Crown has traditionally been pitted against executive sedans like the Honda Legend, Nissan Cedric/Gloria/Fuga, along with discontinued models such as the Isuzu Bellel, Mazda Luce, and Mitsubishi Debonair.
With global market trends showing customers more inclined towards SUVs instead of sedans, the Crown SUV will come in as a key model in the Toyota lineup. It is said to come in hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and full battery-electric models.
Toyota will build the new Crown SUVs in Toyota City in Japan. The hybrid models are expected to start sales around mid-2023, including exports to China and North America. The plug-in hybrid will be reserved for the Japan domestic market.
The battery-electric vehicle (BEV) version is said to follow in early 2024.
The Crown sedan will still live on as a "fully remodeled" version which will also be revealed this year. The current S220 Crown exclusively for the Japanese market was first launched in 2018. It was not shared whether the sedan will also be offered in other markets.
The sources also added that export plans have not been fully finalized by the automaker, which means other markets might also get the Crown SUV.
Late last year, Toyota president Akio Toyoda said the company plans to sell 3.5 million battery-electric vehicles by 2030 globally. The plan is backed by an investment plan of about $70 billion to electrify its lineup.
It is worth noting that Toyota does have a Crown-badged SUV they currently offer in China as the Crown Kluger, a midsized SUV based on the Highlander model from North America and Kluger in Australia.
Toyota, like other Japanese automakers, has been perceived as “slow” in the adoption of battery electric vehicles compared to their American and European counterparts. Will the Crown change this image?