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Toyota FJ Cruiser lives on for now

Still cruising: Toyota’s FJ Cruiser will continue on for now, but its future remains in doubt.

It’s dead in the US but Toyota’s FJ Cruiser will continue ‘for some time yet’ in Oz

Toyota logo17 Jul 2015

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

TOYOTA Australia will continue to offer the ageing FJ Cruiser four-wheel drive wagon for the time being, despite the model being discontinued in its key United States market last year, and with no replacement in sight.

With ongoing demand in Australia and other markets such as the Middle East, the Hino plant in Japan that produces the retro homage to the original FJ40 LandCruiser will continue doing so, according to Toyota Australia product public relations manager Steve Coughlan.

“We haven’t made any announcements about FJ Cruiser,” he told GoAuto at the unveiling of the Fortuner seven-seat SUV in Sydney. “It’s staying put.”“FJ Cruiser production for the US has ceased, but we source ours out of Japan.

And in Australia, year to date in 2015, it is still running at around 130 units a month, and that’s with no television or above-the-line advertising for the car. Instead, it’s through word-of-mouth and enthusiasts, basically.

Mr Coughlan said the FJ Cruiser has a loyal following in Australia, but acknowledged its niche status.

“The FJ is a niche vehicle for sure, and nobody would doubt that… but people who have them love them, and some are on their second and third ones. And some update them after only a change of wheel design or colour palette.”

While Toyota has not yet confirmed it, there is speculation that the FJ Cruiser series will end once production ceases for this generation, but timing is still not known. Launched in Australia in March 2011 – five years after its North American debut – the FJ Cruiser initially doubled volume projections, regularly surpassing 200 sales each month through to last year.

The FJ Cruiser’s demise in the United States and Canada in 2014 was due to the 200kW/380Nm 4.0-litre 1GR-FE V6 not meeting newly introduced economy and emissions regulations.

Despite Australia’s repeated calls for a diesel engine alternative, Toyota has stated that it will not offer one, given projected global sales are not strong enough to warrant the engineering expense.

Only one version is sold in Australia, the V6 4x4 with a five-speed auto, starting from $46,990 plus on-road costs.

Released in North America in early 2006, the FJ Cruiser is heavily based on the 2003-2009 Prado.

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