Have you ever heard of the Toyota crown? You will be
Cars are increasingly global products. Automakers today design most vehicles to meet safety and emissions standards in several countries. They also design them to be easy to manufacture with either the left or right hand drive position. The Mazda3 or Kia Sorento you can buy in the United States today is largely the same as the one you can buy in Geneva and Seoul.
But that doesn’t mean that our icons are the same. Some of the most famous iconic cars in one part of the world may be unknowns in another.
Toyota’s Crown Jewel
Since 1955, the Toyota Crown has been the king of the hills in Japan. It is one of the few nameplates to survive over 50 years. It’s the top of the Toyota lineup – a car people want to own. Toyota engineers pull out all the stops to design it, because the crown is to Toyota what the Black Label is to Jack Daniels or the 501 in blue is to Levi’s.
But we don’t have it here. It has echoes in the United States – Corolla is Latin for “little crown”. But Toyota’s most iconic product is unknown here.
For the moment.
Toyota will unveil an all-new Crown on Friday, and reports suggest it’s coming to the United States. We don’t know exactly when, but Automotive News reports that Toyota “will begin selling a Crown sedan in the United States this year.”
A Toyota spokesperson neither confirmed nor denied the report this morning, saying simply that Toyota “cannot comment on future products.” But the move makes sense.
A large premium sedan with SUV seasoning
Toyota has announced plans to pull its premium Avalon sedan from the U.S. market after 2022. That creates a void that Crown could fill. The Avalon starts at $36,825, but the Crown could command a higher price if Toyota wants it to occupy the same aspirational space in the American mind.
Before releasing a car in Japan, automakers patent its shape. Patent images filed with the Japanese government show the new Crown has a sleek fastback rear. A high driving position gives it SUV-like ground clearance.
A teaser image posted on a Toyota site in Japan shows a dulled front end, side body cladding and a gorgeous dark gunmetal color.
That’s all we have to do for now. The Crown would be built on the same platform as the Toyota Camry, Highlander, Sienna and Lexus RX. This allows for front-, rear- or all-wheel-drive configurations with hybrid or conventional gasoline propulsion.
We will know more on Friday.