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Toyota to potentially revive Land Cruiser nameplate in the U.S.
TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp. could revive the venerable Land Cruiser nameplate in the U.S. as early as next year when it plans to introduce a redesign of the SUV’s little brother, the Land Cruiser Prado.
Possible name change
In bringing the rugged truck stateside, Toyota may simply drop Prado from the name and badge it a Land Cruiser. The automaker is considering the move in the U.S., a person familiar with the plan said.
Global market variations
Globally, the Land Cruiser Prado is sold as a Toyota sibling to the premium Lexus GX midsize SUV. And in some European markets, the Prado is already marketed simply as a Land Cruiser.
Background on Land Cruiser
The full-size Land Cruiser was discontinued in the U.S. after the 2021 model year. The redesigned Lexus LX remained as the automaker’s top luxury SUV, while the next-generation Toyota Sequoia took the Toyota’s brand’s spot for large SUV when it migrated onto the automaker’s new global F1 platform for body-on-frame vehicles.
Redesign and hybrid option for Land Cruiser Prado
The GX, the Prado’s platform mate, is getting its first redesign in more than a decade. The overhaul, expected to feature a rugged, boxy exterior design, will debut Thursday.
The GX is expected to get a hybrid drivetrain option, signaling a possible direction for the Prado.
According to Japanese car buff site Clicccar, the Prado will share the same F1 platform as the full-size Land Cruiser 300 series, allowing it to grow a little longer, wider and taller. And at least for Japan, the Prado is expected to offer a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder hybrid drivetrain.
Legacy of the Land Cruiser
The Land Cruiser, developed in Japan in 1951 as that market’s answer to the Willys Jeep, is Toyota’s longest-running model line and linked to the brand’s very first days in the U.S.
The Land Cruiser’s starting price was often higher than that of many competitors. Its U.S. sales ebbed and flowed over the decades as other rugged overlanders proliferated, and eventually the Land Cruiser was even outsold by its LX sibling.
The U.S. market’s tilt to light trucks over the past decade has also prompted some automakers to revive revered truck brands and nameplates, such as Hummer (General Motors), Bronco (Ford) and Grand Wagoneer (Jeep). Volkswagen of America, aiming to capture a slice of America’s love for authentic, rugged trucks, is reviving the Scout brand once owned by International Harvester.