Toyota Motor Corp. is set to completely revamp the Crown brand, which has been its flagship for nearly seven decades. Toyota will use the brand for sport utility vehicle (SUV) cars marketed in Japan, China and North America, three sources said.
Not only has the model changed from a sedan to an SUV, the new Crown will also be available as an electric car, starting with hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and full-electric. This is Toyota's attempt to revive the prestige of the Crown which is more than 67 years old.
The Japanese automaker will adapt the Crown to the current market trend of moving away from sedans, said the source, who declined to be identified because the information has not been published.
Sales of the Crown hybrid are expected to begin in the summer of 2023, targeting markets in China and North America. Medium plug-in hybrid model is intended for the domestic market, said the source.
For the full-electric Crown, which will be launched in early 2024, Toyota is still finalizing its export sales plans, two people said.
As part of the revamp, Toyota will also launch a completely renovated version of the Crown sedan starting this summer, the people said. Both the SUV and the Crown sedan will be produced at the factory in Toyota City, Japan.
The Crown was the first passenger car to be developed and built entirely in Japan. Throughout its history, most Crowns have been sold in the domestic market. Crown marks a pivotal moment in Japan's rise to become a global automaker.
The Crown is also listed as the first Toyota car to be exported to the United States in 1958. Two years later Toyota was forced to suspend exports because the Crown's engines were unable to reach the required speeds on American highways.
Toyota sold more than 200,000 sedans in 1990 at the height of Japan's economic boom. But last year annual domestic sales shrank to 21,000.
The Crown reshuffle also comes at a time when Toyota, like other Japanese automakers, is looking to dispel the perception that it has been slow to embrace battery electric vehicles.
Last year, Toyota said it would invest up to $70 billion to produce electric cars by 2030.”