Toyota will drown 65 years of history and tradition in a shallow bathtub by discontinuing the Crown sedan

It’s been a hard year and we’re so close to the finish line. Before it leaves us, though, 2020 is going to deliver one last sucker punch to the gut. The Chunichi Shimbun newspaper reports that Toyota will kill off the Crown sedan. This, my friends, is an outrage.

Since 1955, the Toyota Crown has been a staple of Japan’s motoring landscape. The Crown is as much a part of Japan as the Holden Commodore was a part of Australia, or the Ford Cortina a part of pre-Thatcher England. Except, it is even more so because there have been 15 consecutive generations spanning 65 years of unbroken lineage.

Crowns have served as everything from executive saloons to taxis to police cars. Even more so than flagships like the Century or Supra, they are the standard for Toyota because they have permeated all strata of Japanese life. On the streets of every prefecture, Crowns are as inescapable as sushi restaurants and cute cartoon mascots. When the Crown sedan dies, so will a huge part of Japanese car culture.

There hasn’t been an official statement from Toyota, but according to the Chunichi Shimbun, the reason for the decision is declining sales due to changing customer tastes. Most customers are in their 60s or above, and younger buyers are drawn to “lifestyle” vehicles like outdoorsy kei cars and SUVs. The current gen Crown was introduced in 2018, and sold a healthy 50,000 units. Last year, sales dropped to 36,000, and by October 2020 they’ve only sold 18,000. By comparison, during the height of the Bubble Era in 1990, Toyota sold over 200,000.

So what will become of the Crown? Well, you may have noticed that we’ve been saying the death of the Crown sedan. That’s because the Chunichi says the Crown could live on, its name being used from 2022 onward as that of a crossover based on the Highlander. From a Nürburgring-tested rear-drive sedan to a Nordstrom-tested front-drive SUV. Ugh, maybe they should just kill the name altogether.

In retrospect, we should have seen the writing on the wall. Toyota says that the current Lexus GS, which shares a RWD platform with the Crown, will be the last, and they killed off the Mark X last year as well. With the Crown gone, it’ll truly be the end of an era.

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22 Responses to Toyota will drown 65 years of history and tradition in a shallow bathtub by discontinuing the Crown sedan

  1. Rama says:

    We can get angry all we want, but the truth is companies make products to stay in business and make a profit. To illustrate my point, in Malaysia, hardly anyone buys the Toyota Crown, and the majority of normies do not even know such a model exists. To them luxury Toyota is a Camry. Most people dont bother if a car is RWD or FWD. Because it is so unknown, the resale value suffers badly. Used Crowns sell for cheap because nobody wants them, but Camry’s retain their high resale value (provided its 10 years old or less).
    In this regard , it makes sense to kill off this model, irregardless of how we enthusiasts feel about it. Its just the cutthroat capitalist business world in all its splendor.

  2. Lupus says:

    The current Crown Athlete with this “doube-bolt” grill is sooo cool, so intimidating and dynamic dynamic looking at the same time.
    I’ve always regreted that Crown’s weren’t sold here, in Europe. If i’m not mistaking the current gen. is availible in RHD config in China.
    I would love to onw some day a UZS150 or UZS170 Majesta…

  3. speedie says:

    I used to think that the current trend towards SUVs (and CUVs) would wane and car sales would rebound but unfortunately I no longer think that is true. Today’s SUVs offer everything a sedan does and more in many ways. Most buyers looking at a Mazda3 for example would also be looking at a CX-3. My friends like the higher seating position their SUVs offer and really do not care about the handling differences and realistically the MPG differences are not that big, at least here in the US. For a name like Crown I am sure Toyota will do what Ford has done with the Mustang name and transfer it onto a non-sedan platform like an electric SUV.

  4. Nigel says:

    This does not make for a good day or decade for that matter.

  5. XRaider927 says:

    This pisses me off…this is an add the insult to the injury….(even my grandfather has passed away recently)…………But hopefully this is a rumor because, no official word from toyota if I’m correct since the newspaper has no confirmed reports on that…..

  6. cyko9 says:

    Are Crowns not still used extensively as taxis? Would Toyota do something like Ford did with the Taurus and continue making them exclusively as service vehicles?

    • Mark F Newton-John says:

      They’re not using Taurus’ as taxis, typically small minivans are more convenient, such as the Nissan taxi that was chosen for all of New York’s taxis.

    • Ben Hsu says:

      You might be thinking of the Ford Crown Victoria. That program ended as well. Now most police departments in the US use Ford Explorers. The Crown taxi you see in much of Asia is actually a Crown Comfort, which is based on a old Mark II platform. That is also likely going to be phased out for the Toyota JPN taxi. Either way, Toyota hasn’t made an official statement regarding the Crown so we’ll have to wait and see.

      • CarKing says:

        Ford Taurus was used big time as a Police car! Like the Dodge Charger also used as Police cars but they dont use them as taxi’s..Minivans have more room for passengers thus they use them

    • I saw another article in the Japanese media wondering what the police will use if Toyota does end the Crown’s run.

      • cesariojpn says:

        Considering that many police forces in Japan seem to grab whatever is on the shelf and slap the lights and stickers on, I’m not even sure what could be a successor to the Crown.

        Nissan has the Teana, Daihatsu has the Altis, and Mazda has the Atenza for Sedans that could be almost on-par with the Crown if we don’t count Luxury Sedans.

        My guess is that a manufacturer could “downgrade” a Luxury Sedan for police work.

  7. dankan says:

    Not a total surprise, especially given Toyota’s decision to eliminate odd-ball models in its domestic market. But it’s a sad one, since the Crown was a really cool car that looked better than the Lexus derivatives they sold over here.

    Maybe the SUV-Crown will sell well, or maybe they rebadge the Camry as the Crown in Japan. It is a loss, but not a surprise, sadly.

  8. Mark F Newton-John says:

    Toyota may well import the Avalon, and since it uses the same platform as the Camry, there would be a cost savings. The large sedan isn’t dead, if that were the case, then the Lexus LS would be gone as well.

  9. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    Did the introduction of the boxy little “Japan Taxi” put the nail in the coffin? I admit, the new taxis are more practical but it sure is a departure from the icon of Japanese culture. It’s a sad day…

    • Ben Hsu says:

      Maybe, though the Crown Comforts have little to do with the Crown people can buy. I think the Japan Taxi did give us an early clue that RWD sedans were largely done for, though.

  10. Tygerleo says:

    Crown is always in my heart as the car i would like to drive to see how it is. But problem is Crown comes with many sub-models along its products. The one I really wants to try out is the mid80s Crown Comfort with diesel with column manual shifter. In my mind this model can out last MB W123

  11. “Most customers are in their 60s or above, and younger buyers are drawn to “lifestyle” vehicles like outdoorsy kei cars and SUVs.”

    And one day, those buyers will be older, and they’ll want a Crown sedan. Of course by then, internal combustion vehicles may be illegal.

    “Ugh, maybe they should just kill the name altogether.”

    I hears ya.

  12. エーイダン says:

    Where was that picture at the head of the article taken? I swear it looks like I can see a Nova Scotia-styled flag in the background….

  13. Kalervo Kasurinen says:

    Errrr not Toyota Crown related… did anyone notice the new release of Hot Wheels C 210 Nissan Skyline C210 has JNC livery?

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