TOKYO - Toyota’s flagship model in Japan, the Crown, is going on sale around the world for the first time, including in the U.S.
"I’m so excited to announce today that this new Crown family of vehicles will be offered not just in Japan but globally for the very first time," its Chief Executive Akio Toyoda told reporters Friday.
"A car that could very well be our crowning achievement."
The 16th generation Crown, set to begin production in January, comes in four varieties — a crossover with a hybrid system; a sedan that is most similar to 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 nations, with Toyota Motor Corp. aiming for 200,000 vehicles in annual global sales. The cheapest version starts at 4.35 million yen ($31,000) in Japan.
Toyota Crown Sport (Toyota)
Toyota, Japan's top automaker, sells about 10 million vehicles globally a year. It has a successful global luxury lineup called Lexus, whose cheapest models sell for about $35,000 in the U.S.
The Crown’s history parallels the rise of Toyota and of the modern Japanese economy, with the first sedan going on sale in Japan in 1955. "Some day a Crown," was a tagline over the years. But the cars are not well-known abroad.
Toyoda called the Crown "the pride of Japan." Company founder Kiichiro Toyoda, his grandfather, came up with the name.
"Nothing will make me happier than Japan’s Crown becoming loved by everyone around the world," said Toyoda.