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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Platform costs and sedan decline the reasons for Toyota moving Crown to an SUV

SUV Crown could well provide a glimpse of future Toyota styling and technology.

Set to enter a new segment in 2022 by morphing into an SUV after what will be a 67 year production run as mainly a sedan but also as a coupe and estate in the past, a new report from Japan has shed more light on the decision Toyota has made for its iconic Crown.

Marketed only in Japan as the step down from the Century, Best Car claims that the decision to change segments had already been made before the introduction of the recently updated fifteenth generation, based on not only slumping sedan sales compared to SUVs, but also costs relating to the platform.

Currently the only model within Toyota’s entire product line-up to ride on the GA-N version of the TNGA platform, the SUV Crown will switch to the GA-K architecture used by the RAV4, Highlander/Kluger and Harrier/Venza, while the GA-N will be discontinued completely and integrated into the GA-K in order to reduce costs. Despite being a front-wheel-drive orientated platform, a first for the always rear-wheel-drive Crown, speculation is it will be an all-paw gripping model only that will be sold in other markets such as China and the United States when it bows.

With Lexus having discontinued the GS earlier this year, the Crown is expected to become the de facto replacement, but unlike previous generations, and like the current GX based on the Land Cruiser Prado and Land Cruiser 200 derived LX,  it will be sold only as a Toyota, thus leaving the ES as the sole Lexus sedan below the LS, which itself could be supplemented by the rumoured LQ SUV in 2022.

Based on the Best Car report, images of the upcoming Crown where shown at a recent event held every four years by Toyota, but only to employees with none being supplied to outside sources. Highly unlikely to return to South Africa in its new guise after 2022, don’t be surprised if the Crown incorporates styling and technology that could trickle down to other models over the next few years.

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