crown: Toyota’s flagship Crown SUV in Japan set to debut in global markets with 4 varieties

TOKYO: Toyota’s flagship model in Japan, the Crown, goes on sale globally for the first time, including the United States

“I am delighted to announce today that this new family of Crown vehicles will be offered not only in Japan but around the world for the very first time,” its chief executive Akio Toyoda told reporters on Friday.

“A car that could very well be our crowning glory.”

The 16th generation Crown, slated to begin production in January, comes in four varieties – a cross with a hybrid system; a sedan that most closely resembles the crowns seen on Japanese streets; a sport utility vehicle and a wagon crossover called the “Estate,” the company said.

The Crown will go on sale in 40 countries, Toyota Motor Corp. targeting 200,000 vehicles in annual worldwide sales. The cheapest version starts at 4.35 million yen ($31,000) in Japan.

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Toyota, Japan’s largest automaker, sells around 10 million vehicles worldwide each year. It has a global luxury line called Lexus, the cheapest models of which sell for around $35,000 in the United States.

The Crown’s history parallels the rise of Toyota and the modern Japanese economy, with the first sedan going on sale in Japan in 1955. “One day a crown” was a catchphrase over the years. But the cars are not well known abroad.

Toyoda called the Crown “Japan’s pride”. Company founder Kiichiro Toyoda, his grandfather, came up with the name.

“Nothing will make me happier than the crown of Japan becoming loved by everyone around the world,” Toyoda said.

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