Toyota announced Friday that it has sold 10 million units of its iconic Land Cruiser series of SUVs worldwide as of Aug. 31—68 years after the Toyota “Jeep BJ” that launched the nameplate was introduced.
Exports of the Toyota Land Cruiser began in November, 1955, with the introduction of the 20 Series. While initial volumes weren’t particularly impressive (fewer than 100 units annually), within a decade Toyota was moving more than 10,000 to world markets each year. Today, Toyota says it sells roughly 400,000 examples of the Land Cruiser and its derivatives every year across 170 world markets.
The Land Cruiser BJ was introduced and Toyota used it to take on feats only previously possible on horseback. The Land Cruiser replicated a legendary Samurais climbed to the top of Mount Atago and followed in the traditional pilgrimage route to the sixth station on the top of Mount Fuji. These impressive feats help the Land Cruiser slowly phase out the Mitsubishi built America Jeep designs for Japan’s military forces.
After the high success of the first generation Land Cruiser a new model debuted known as the 20 Series. This second-generation vehicle was updated to be more comfortable for civilian use and saw the first non-military customers. The legendary reliability of the Land Cruiser was forged during the launch of the 20 Series.
The company credits the Land Cruiser with helping establish Toyota’s reputation for building durable, reliable vehicles, creating what it calls a “foothold” for its expansion into different markets, which have since grown to embrace other products in its now-much-larger lineup. In 2018, the largest market for Land Cruiser-family vehicles was the Middle East, which accounted for roughly 33 percent of its worldwide volume at about 132,000 vehicles.
The second-largest market is Europe with about 54,000 sold. North America ranks after Oceania (Australia, New Zealand) and Asia with 36,000 sold, also including Africa..
The new Land Cruiser, due in 2021 (just in time for the nameplate’s 70th anniversary), is expected to ditch the long-running V-8 in favor of a 6-cylinder engine, likely turbocharged. Electrification is also likely, but no formal plans have been announced.