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Toyota to launch an electrified SUV version of its Crown sedan, the first Toyota exported to the US in the 1950s

A recent report out of Tokyo says that Toyota is working on an SUV version of its Crown sedan, arriving in hybrid, PHEV, and fully-electric versions for its home country in addition to exports of some versions to China and North America. The Crown was the first Toyota vehicle to be exported to the United States in 1958, and it has remained a mainstay model in the Japanese market for 67 years.

While Japanese automaker Toyota has been more laggard than some in its embrace of BEVs, it does recognize what sells and sticks with it. The company holds the current crown as the world’s top selling automaker, having sold 10.5 million vehicles in 2021.

While virtually none of these industry-leading sales came from BEVs (yet), Toyota has made quite a name for itself in hybrids – a vehicle type it plans to sell well into the next decade, even if it means playing a little dirty.

PHEVs like the Prius Prime and RAV4 Prime are very popular in the United States, although their federal tax credits may soon run out. Before Toyota became a household name in the United States however, it was a new Japanese brand exporting a sedan called the Crown in the 1950s. The Crown would go on to see four generations of models in North America from 1958–1973.

In Japan, the Crown remains a staple in the Toyota fleet, approaching nearly 70 years of production. According to a recent report, Toyota is looking to promote EV adoption by revamping its classic sedan as an electrified Crown SUV.

Toyota Crown SUV
The 2021 Toyota Crown for the Japanese market

The Toyota Crown will return to the United States as an electric SUV.

After speaking with multiple people who declined to be identified, Reuters reports that Toyota is in fact working on an electrified version of the Crown in SUV form for multiple markets.

Reuters’ sources also said that part of the decision to go SUV on the Crown is based on consumer preference leaning away from sedans in favor of larger vehicles – and who loves a good hybrid more than Toyota?

According to the sources in the report, the hybrid version of the Crown SUV will be exported to China and North America in the summer of 2023, but the PHEV version will only be sold by Toyota in Japan. As for the BEV version of the Crown SUV? Well that remains uncertain as Toyota finalizes its export plans before an expected launch in 2024.

As a counter to the SUV rebirth of the Crown, Toyota also plans to deliver a completely remodeled sedan version this summer. Whether it will come in any form of electrification however, remains unclear at this time. A spokesperson for Toyota has declined to comment on the new Crown SUV or sedan.

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Scooter Doll is a writer, designer and tech enthusiast born in Chicago and based on the West Coast. When he’s not offering the latest tech how tos or insights, he’s probably watching Chicago sports.
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