The big news of the day yesterday was a report on Toyota bringing an SUV-ified version of the Crown to the US market. It sounds like an abomination. However, buried deep in the report was a separate item, one that was largely glossed over by the mainstream automotive press, and it shines a ray of hope into our crossover-filled world. Reportedly, the Crown sedan will live on as its own model, alongside the Crown SUV.
The report comes from Reuters in Tokyo, who spoke with three unnamed sources about the matter. Most of the article is dedicated to the Crown SUV, but among the discussion of its various drivetrains was this little nugget:
As part of the overhaul, Toyota will also roll out a fully remodelled sedan version of the Crown from this summer, the people said.
Both the SUV and the sedan will be manufactured at factories in Toyota City, Japan.
If true, that is some great news. The Crown is not just Toyota’s longest-running nameplate, but it’s one of the oldest continuously sold models in the automotive world. The original Crown debuted in 1955 and has spanned 67 years and 15 generations. It’s a mainstay of Japanese automotive culture, having served as everything from government vehicles to taxis to shakotan sleds. It was present at the dawn of Japan’s era of motorization and has seen the highs of the Bubble Era as well as the lows of the Lost Decade. It’s really the car that’s done it all.
As for the Crown SUV, some possible images have already leaked from the Chinese market, where it appears that it will be a lightly restyled Highlander. Reuters says the Crown SUV will come in hybrid and fully electric variants, with the latter debuting in early 2024, a year after the former. The report also says the Crown SUV will be coming to the US, which seems to corroborate an earlier dealer calendar leak. If this comes to fruition, it would mark the first time the Crown was sold in stateside in over 50 years. The last Crown to be sold here was the 1972 Kujira.
The expansion of the Crown name to an SUV (and possibly a minivan) is a bit easier to swallow than a wholesale replacement of the Crown sedan. However, none of this was confirmed by Toyota so disappointment may still loom. Nevertheless, the report offers a glimmer of hope that Toyota won’t completely abandon nearly 70 decades of tradition.