Australia’s love affair with Toyota LandCruiser is showing no signs of cooling off, with the Cruiser family now accounting for almost one out of every five Toyota vehicles sold nationally.
The Cruiser range – 200 series, Prado, FJ and 70 series – contributed 38,767 sales last year, or more than 17.7 per cent of Toyota’s 218,167 market-leading tally. In fact, as a franchise in its own right, the Cruiser family would have taken 10th place in the Australian market.
Last year’s total was an increase of 36.6 per cent over the previous year when the Cruiser clan was responsible for 28,377 units, or 15.6 per cent of all Toyota vehicles delivered by its dealers.
The share of Toyota sales attributable to these off-road vehicles has risen this year to 18.8 per cent, delivering 12,230 units out of Toyota’s 64,947 total.
Toyota’s executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said demand for the Cruiser family included city dwellers wanting a luxury SUV, as well as regional, rural and mining customers requiring a rugged and durable off-roader.
“Toyota is extremely proud of the capabilities and reliability of its LandCruiser family and we are very fortunate to have such an extremely loyal customer base that continues to support us with their buying choices,” Mr Cramb said.
“Our strong national dealer coverage is instrumental because there are some parts of rural and outback Australia where people tell me the only vehicles they see regularly are LandCruisers,” he said.
“This may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it underlines the enviable reputation LandCruiser has developed as the ‘king off the road’, particularly in some of the harshest country a vehicle will encounter.”
The 200 series and the 70 series wagon together command more than three-quarters of sales in the upper-large SUV segment. As the perennial leader of the segment, Toyota last month achieved a share of 87.2 per cent – remarkably strong in a two-cornered contest with Nissan’s Patrol.
Last year, sales of the LandCruiser 200 series wagon jumped 31 per cent to 8,089 registrations. This year, they have continued to rise – up more than 13.1 per cent to 3,033 units, supported by improvements to safety, comfort and convenience.
The 200 series has become the first vehicle in the Toyota range to adopt Trailer Sway Control – a driver assist technology designed to help control a towed vehicle that has been unsettled by crosswinds, bumpy roads or sharp turns of the steering wheel.
LandCruiser 200 has also gained knee airbags for the driver and front passenger in GX and volume-selling GXL model grades, bringing the total number of airbags to eight.
All LandCruiser 200 series models have a five-star ANCAP safety rating with GX and volume-selling GXL grades now fitted with eight airbags, including two that offer protection for the driver and front-passenger knees. Upper models have 10 airbags.
The classic FJ Cruiser has received a sales boost of 10.6 per cent this year and has benefited from gaining a sub-tank that more than doubles its driving range plus the addition an off-road cruise-control system, CRAWL Control.
LandCruiser Prado continues as the best-selling vehicle in the large SUV segment following a record 17,045 registrations in 2012. Prado recently became the first vehicle in its segment to post 200,000 sales in Australia with its popularity growing since it debuted here in 1996.
Over the past decade, customers have bought an average of more than 14,600 a year, making Prado a significant contributor during a period in which Toyota has been the overall market leader.
Toyota’s tough 70 series range has also contributed to the company’s growth so far this year. Sales of the pick-up and cab-chassis workhorses have risen two per cent in the four months to the end of April, which comes on top of solid growth of 21.3 per cent in 2012.
The vehicle maker increased the appeal of the 70 series range last year with the introduction of a double-cab variant.
Toyota is now on its way to an 11th straight year as the market leader in Australia, and its 17th year overall at the top. It is the only brand with market share in double figures, achieving 19.9 per cent for the month of April 2013.
Toyota has sold 64,947 vehicles so far this year – 1,000 more than the corresponding period in 2012 and in excess of 30,000 sales ahead of any other brand. TJ