06 July 2017
AUSTRALIA IS THE WORLD LEADER FOR LANDCRUISER
More Australians have bought a Toyota LandCruiser than customers from any other nation, according to internal statistics from Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan.
The figures show Australians - from remote cattlemen to city families - account for an extraordinary 10 per cent of all LandCruisers sold around the world since the famous nameplate was first stamped in 1954.
Local LandCruiser sales have recently passed an impressive milestone of 700,000 vehicles while the global total is just shy of seven million vehicles.
LandCruiser's 63-year history makes it the longest-serving Toyota vehicle brand, originating 12 years ahead of another long-time customer favourite, Corolla.
The local LandCruiser tally includes 370,000 workhorse vehicles, including the current 70 Series range plus 330,000 wagons including the latest "king off the road", the 200 Series.
While annual LandCruiser sales are now topped by the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East, Australians last year still weighed in with 11.3 per cent of global sales - almost 19,000 vehicles out of a global total of more than 166,000 sales.
The all-time sales figures for the iconic off-roader do not include Prado wagons that also bear the LandCruiser name, of which more than 260,000 have been sold in Australia.
Toyota Australia's executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said LandCruiser was a familiar sight in the toughest conditions of regional and remote Australia as well as being a regular sight in urban areas.
"Even the most rugged LandCruiser 70 Series variant is now equipped with extensive safety features in addition to the traditional quality, durability and reliability that has distinguished the brand over six decades," Mr Cramb said.
"LandCruiser is also about luxury with the top-of-the-line 200 Series Sahara featuring four cameras to assist with manoeuvres from challenging off-road driving to negotiating tight parking spots in our concrete jungles," he said.
LandCruiser's unparalleled reputation in Australia stretches back to the 1950s when construction magnate Sir Leslie Thiess bought several vehicles for use on the rugged construction trails of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme.
LandCruiser began life as the dream of TMC founder Kiichiro Toyoda who was determined to produce a vehicle with low price, high performance and economy - fully made in Japan.
By January 1951, Toyota had produced a prototype known as BJ - a one-tonne truck chassis with a petrol-powered water-cooled in-line six-cylinder 3,386cc unit.
Six months later, test driver Ichiro Taira drove a prototype to the sixth of 10 checkpoints on the 3,775m Mt Fuji - higher than anybody had thought possible in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
Toyota soon began selling the vehicle in world markets, earning valuable foreign currency and carrying the Toyota name to other countries.
In June 1954, director of technology Hanji Umehara (later a managing director) renamed the 4WD the LandCruiser. The rest, as they say, is history.
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More Australians have bought a Toyota LandCruiser than any other nationality (2017 200 Series Altitude special edition shown).
More Australians have bought a Toyota LandCruiser than any other nationality (70 Series single cab-chassis shown).