Toyota is preparing to launch an electric version of its iconic model, the LandCruiser SUV, to cater to its growing urban audience.
Previewed as concept at the 2023 Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota Australia boss Sean Hanley has revealed a likely option for the Japanese auto giant is to add a production version of the LandCruiser Se in the not-too-distant future as part of an expanded line-up.
So while the idea of an all-electric, monocoque chassis variant of the famously rugged off-roader will sound unappealing to purists, it will not come at the expense of the diesel-powered LandCruiser range, but rather an extension of it.
It's part of the brand's so-called “multi-pathway strategy” that will see a gradual roll-out of electric vehicles and possibly hydrogen-powered alternatives, while retaining the internal combustion engine models that are so popular amongst buyers.
While he was quick to state that no firm plans have been locked in, Hanley told Torquecafe that Toyota is clearly looking to extend the appeal of the LandCruiser range, as evidenced by the latest concept.
“The answer to that question is more around ‘why would Toyota be showing this concept?' The reason why is it's a demonstration of this multi-pathway strategy,” Hanley explained. “So, in other words, we know there's a market for LandCruiser, we know there's a real diverse market around the globe for LandCruiser [customers] use it for all different reasons. Therefore it's not inconceivable to see two types of LandCruisers in the future.
“When would it come to Australia? Well I don't know, because it's a concept right now, there's no lockdown plans that I'm aware of to make this car. However, the answer to the question falls into this line of thinking, being a global company with a multi-pathway technology-agnostic research and development strategy, and bring-to-market strategy, we have the ability to pull cars from across the globe that would easily fit in to, for example, a more aggressive fuel emissions standard over the next decade. In other words, we can draw down.
“So the importance of a concept car like that is if [a stricter emissions standard in Australia] was to become reality, that could be available to us as an option. For a LandCruiser, for example, we know some people never go off-road. Some people never leave Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, Hobart or Canberra. So, that concept, if it became reality, could be a great option for them.”
While Hanley wasn't able to confirm the production of the LandCruiser Se, his comments coupled with Toyota's investment in the concept and previous comments from high-ranking Toyota executives internationally seemingly make it near-certain. Speculation is rife that it could arrive as early as 2025, sitting alongside the current 300 Series range.
It would be built on a car-like monocoque platform, similar to the Kluger, which would limit off-road ability but make for a more efficient electric SUV.