Very reliable sources within Toyota Motor Philippines have confirmed that the FJ Cruiser SUV will be making its way to Philippine showrooms towards the end of 2013. The retro SUV was inspired by the FJ40 Land Cruiser which enjoyed a 24-year existence from 1960 to 1984 as one of Toyota's most popular models. One of our sources shared that a 'colorful, gas-engined SUV will be entering our market soon'.
Initially introducted in 2003 as the Rugged Youth Utility concept, a result of secret planning by Toyota US Vice President Product Planner Dave Danzer and now Toyota Motor Corporation President and CEO Akio Toyoda. The concept was approved for production and launched in 2005 after favorable consumer response. The five-seater retro styled SUV is based on the underpinnings of the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. The FJ Cruiser is being built at the Hino Motors (a Toyota subsidiary) plant in Hamura, Japan.
The North American developed model was also sold in China. After Akio Toyoda's appointment as President and CEO, right-hand drive versions were introduced for the Japanese market in late 2010 to replace the Hilux Surf. The following year, Australia and New Zealand also began selling the right-hand drive FJ Cruiser as well.
Grey market dealers have been importing and selling the US-market FJ Cruiser since its introduction in 2007. Favorable legislation over the recent years with regards to vehicle import duties has paved the way for Toyota Motor Philippines to introduce the 'halo model' to the local market. The FJ Cruiser is powered by a 4.0-liter V6 engine and is assembled in Japan, which falls under the JPEPA agreement. Initial estimates indicate pricing to be very competitive, if not lower than current grey market prices.