- the toyota land cruiser won't return to the u.s. market for the 2022 model year, according to a dealer source.
- it may return later on in redesigned form, but we don't know how long of a hiatus it will take.
- the 2021 model year will be the last for the current 200-series model.
earlier this year, a rumor surfaced that the toyota land cruiser, beloved behemoth and longtime owner of the fanciest toyota title, was getting axed after the 2021 model year. since we prefer not to fan unverified internet rumors, we refrained from jumping into the fracas on that one until we could get some confirmation—which, of course, was unforthcoming from toyota. but now we've spoken with a partner in a large dealer franchise who confirmed that 2021 is the end of the trail for toyota's iconic suv. but, thankfully, maybe not for long.
"it's gone for 2022, but i think it'll be back soon, and way more modern and luxurious," he told us. the current land cruiser—the 200-series, in cruiser parlance—dates to the 2008 model year and is (over)due for major improvements, especially on the fuel-economy front, where its 14 mpg epa combined rating is doing toyota's fleet average no favors. toyota also has a habit of dropping nameplates and reviving them later on, and not always at multi-decade intervals like the supra. the venza went on a walkabout in 2015 and returned for 2021, and we'd suspect that the land cruiser won't be gone for six years.
one reason for the decision would appear to stem from sales, or lack thereof. in 2019, toyota sold 3536 land cruisers, which represents a 9.7-percent sales increase over 2018 but still amounts to a rounding error for a company that sold about 2.4 million vehicles in each of the prior two years. still, if we modestly estimate that toyota makes $10,000 per land cruiser—and, given the age of the platform and the shared tundra engine, we'd suspect it's much more than that—$35 million a year isn't a bad take for a niche vehicle. but if the land cruiser is to become more than a niche player, it needs a wholesale overhaul. do we see an 300-series with a hybrid powertrain ambling over a pass out there on the horizon?
let's hope so. and let's hope the land cruiser isn't gone for as long as the supra (or the bronco, for that matter). a redesign can be exciting, but everybody loves a comeback.
update 12/24/20: toyota's issued a statement affirming that 2021 is the final year for the land cruiser as we know it. it reads, "the toyota land cruiser has been a legendary name for more than 60 years. while it will be discontinued in the united states after the 2021 model year, we remain committed to the large suv segment and will continue to explore future products that celebrate the land cruiser’s rich off-road history. we encourage loyal enthusiasts and intrepid adventurers to stay tuned for future developments."