The Toyota Land Cruiser As We Know It May Not Be Long for the U.S.

The storied nameplate is a good bet to return.

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The Land Cruiser may not be long for American dealerships — at least, not as we know Toyota’s giant, luxurious SUV. That’s the unsettling takeaway from a recent interview conducted between Toyota’s new North America CEO, Ted Ogawa, and Automotive News about a wide range of subjects.

When asked whether the Land Cruiser would have a continued place in the U.S. market as a Toyota, given that its pricing and positioning buts up against Lexus, Ogawa was noncommittal. He said the nameplate could remain, but suggested that the vehicle it returned upon .

“The Toyota dealers strongly want the nameplate of Land Cruiser,” Ogawa said. “But we have not decided yet. We have some alternatives on how to retain the Land Cruiser nameplate.”

That comment, however, does not contradict the previous reporting about the Land Cruiser’s future. Much of that speculation has suggested the next-generation Toyota Land Cruiser will return more to its roots as a pared-down off-roader, while the next-generation Lexus LX will emphasize luxury and performance.

That said, Ogawa’s other comments did add to the mystery, instead of clarifying. While Toyota’s truck platform would seem to be a natural basis for a simpler Land Cruiser, when asked whether he saw Toyota adding to the “four brothers” that run on Toyota’s truck platform — the 4Runner, Tacoma, Tundra and Sequoia — Ogawa simply responded: “I think four is enough.”

Long story short: isn’t clear how to interpret Ogawa’s comments, at least for now. But: if we ultimately received a vehicle named Land Cruiser that was analogous to a bigger, badder 4Runner…wouldn’t that be the Land Cruiser that many of us have long wanted? Maybe, instead of being concerned about the future of this icon, we should be excited.

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