Toyota is set to kill off its second-oldest nameplate, with reports out of Japan suggesting the Toyota Crown – in its current sedan form, at least – will be retired.
A report in Japanese newspaper Chunichi Shimbun states that Toyota will cease production of the Crown sedan but will retain the nameplate, likely on an SUV, slated for 2022.
According to the publication, the Crown sedan's high-riding replacement will shift the nameplate to a front-wheel-drive architecture, sharing a platform with the Kluger large SUV.
Unlike previous, Japanese-only Crown generations, the Crown SUV could also make its way to the US and Chinese markets, serving as a flagship model for the Japanese marque.
The Toyota Crown has been a mainstay on Japanese roads since 1955, through 15 generations. It has become ubiquitous on the streets of Japan as a taxi, police car and town car, but has also been a favoured sedan for older buyers. Only the Toyota LandCruiser has a longer history than the Crown, the four-wheel-drive entering production in 1951.
However, dwindling sales and the rise in popularity of SUVs has forced Toyota to put an end to the Crown's 65-year run.
Earlier this year, Toyota’s luxury arm Lexus confirmed it would cease production of its large GS sedan – a model with which the Toyota Crown shares its rear-drive platform.
Total production for the flagship sedan numbers around 5.5 million cars since 1955. Sales reached a peak in 1990, with over 200,000 Crowns sold. However, sales of the large sedan have seen a steady decline in recent years – 50,000 in 2018, 36,000 in 2019, and 19,000 to the end of October 2020.
Toyota is yet to comment on the report.