While Toyota pulled the beloved FJ Cruiser out of the U.S. in 2014, it has survived for years in other countries. But we thought the last of them were out of production by now. Au, contraire! It still sells well in certain countries, so Toyota keeps making them. Amazingly, there are countries where you can buy a 2023 version of the FJ Cruiser.
We thought Toyota had stopped making the FJ Cruiser
The last country it was still selling was supposed to be the Middle East. But this was to be its final year for sale there. In fact, there is a limited-edition final version sold in one country. However, now we know there are still two countries where you can purchase them.
Both the Philippines and South Africa have them. According to Carbuzz, Toyota’s market share is over 50 percent in the Philippines. It is made at the Hamura, Japan, assembly plant belonging to Hino Motors. Hino is a subsidiary of Toyota that mostly builds its heavy-duty trucks.
How much does a 2023 FJ Cruiser cost?
And here’s the thing, much of the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado shares components with the FJ. The first Lexus GS in the U.S. was really a rebadged Prado. So amortized over two models for so many years means the tooling for both has been paid for many times over. That means the FJ is one cheap vehicle to build.
The South African version has an MSRP of $44,000. That’s the same as a Bronco Badlands. However, the FJ has not been upgraded in years, so the Bronco has technology and safety features that weren’t even though of the last time the FJ saw an update.
Wasn’t there going to be a new electric FJ Cruiser?
But it does have a slightly updated dash, with a small touchscreen. That allows it to offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Still, there are not enough safety features or general updates to make their way back to the U.S.
We had hopes that the Toyota LiteCruiser EV SUV concept shown in July would become our defacto FJ Cruiser. We liked everything about it, and Toyota received lots of requests to make it. Those plans seemed to be in the works.
But just last week it announced that it was doubling down on EV sedan development, and it wouldn’t be moving forward with a number of offshoot EV vehicles like the LiteCruiser. Toyota was late to the EV arena and now needs to punch up its efforts to go after Tesla, which it has said it is targeting.
Blame it on Tesla
So you can blame Tesla for there not being an FJ Cruiser replacement in the foreseeable future. Or, maybe Toyota is just putting up subterfuge. After all, once it establishes an EV platform, it is just a matter of bonking onto it anything they want, without costly development time. So if an EV sedan is in the works it wouldn’t take much to slip an FJ Cruise-like body onto it.
After being gone for 10 years, there is still a large following of FJ Cruiser enthusiasts. In some ways, it makes you wonder why Toyota couldn’t have found a way for it to remain in the U.S.