If the wait for a new Toyota Land Cruiser in Japan is four years, it makes us wonder. How popular would it be here in the US? We wonder because Toyota doesn’t sell the new SUV here. The Land Cruiser has more than a cult following in America, yet, for some reason, Toyota has deemed the US unworthy.
The popularity of the 300-series Land Cruiser is unmistakable. In September, there was already a two-year wait in Japan. And it was only introduced the month before.
You can get a US version of the Land Cruiser it’s called the Lexus LX
If you really have to own a 2022 version of Toyota’s SUV, the closest you can get is the Lexus LX, which it is based upon. Both incorporate the GA-F platform with body-on-frame architecture. Toyota has stated that even though both SUVs are built at the same plant, Us customers won’t see any wait times for the Lexus LX.
Toyota chose to use an allotment strategy for SUV’s distribution. For whatever reason, most of the Land Cruiser’s allotment goes to the Middle East. In fact, only 10 percent of Land Cruiser production goes to the Japanese home market. Because of this allotment decision, if demand somewhere else is high, the home market suffers. And right now, the SUV is hugely popular in the Middle East.
But the distinction between Toyota’s SUV and the LX is huge looking at the numbers. Both the Land Cruiser 200 and 300 versions sold almost 150,000 globally. In contrast, Lexus only eked out sales of only 17,000 for the LX.
Why are Lexus LX sales globally so weak, and the Land Cruiser’s so strong?
That disparity is probably due to a couple of things. First, the Land Cruiser was always a bit spartan, as most SUVs should be. As the years progressed, it got larger, fancier, and as a result, sales dropped in the US. It just wasn’t the same SUV anymore.
In its last years sold here, Toyota’s SUV saw sales overshadowed by the LX. And the price for highly-optioned models got into LX territory. Most buyers interested in the Japanese SUVs opted for the Lexus name.
And the LX takes the luxury direction even farther. Again, it is not what most buyers want from an SUV. And the result of that Lexus badge and added amenities is that the price is high. It bumps into the $90,000 price range in its base form. It’s a deal-breaker for most SUV enthusiasts.
Sales of all SUVs in Japan are huge
Back in Japan, SUVs are hot. Land Cruiser sales jumped almost 30 percent from 2020 to 2021. Some of that might have had to do with the word that Toyota was dropping the V8 after 2021. Prices in Japan for it are equivalent to $46,500 for the base model, to almost $73,000 for a fully loaded one.
As it stands now, Toyota spokespersons have told Automotive News that the allocation scheme will stand, as Land Cruisers go to” the most appropriate regions.” We wonder what the Land Cruiser’s numbers would be were it available in the US, and could Toyota meet that added demand? Unfortunately, we’ll never know.
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