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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Retro off-roading no more as Toyota says goodbye to FJ Cruiser

FJ Cruiser leaves South Africa after 12 years with no replacement in the pipeline.

Having announced the end of production by 2023, Toyota has officially confirmed that the retro-styled FJ Cruiser has reached the end of its lifecycle in South Africa after almost 12 years.

Although discontinued in key markets such as North America and Australia almost a decade ago, the tribute to the FJ40 Land Cruiser continued to be sold elsewhere, predominantly in the Middle East where demand remained strong.

Updates that never happened

Amidst speculation of it bowing-out in South Africa, Toyota confirmed to The Citizen in March last year, it had decided to prolong the FJ Cruiser by introducing a series of updates centring largely around a more modern infotainment system and possibly also some material changes.

In a subsequent follow-up eight months later though, the automaker said it had rather opted to close order books for the FJ Cruiser as the final batch of units had already left the Hamura plant in Japan bound for South Africa.

Toyota FJ Cruiser sales end in South Africa
Tribute to the FJ40 Land Cruiser debuted globally in 2006. Image: Toyota

According to the latest report by cars.co.za, Toyota stated that production had indeed ended at the end of December last year not only for South Africa, but globally as well.

ALSO READ: Cruising out: Toyota farewelling FJ Cruiser in South Africa

FJ Cruiser in South Africa

Until April this year, and despite being a niche model resplendent with suicide opening rear doors and a normally aspirated 4.0-litre V6 petrol engine pumping-out 200kW/380Nm, 44 FJ Cruisers still passed through Toyota’s dealer network compared to the 199 examples shifted throughout 2022.

Toyota FJ Cruiser sales end in South Africa
A planned interior upgrade was due to happen last year. Image: Toyota

Never developed to accommodate a turbodiesel engine, the body-on-frame FJ Cruiser did, however, offer the option of a six-speed manual gearbox, but only in the United States where sales concluded in 2014.

Three years later, Toyota Australia followed suite, leaving the Middle East as the FJ Cruiser’s biggest market, until 2022 when a decision was made to end production completely.

Initially, four versions of the FJ Cruisers were offered by Toyota South Africa in 2011; base, Cruiser, Trail and Sport, all powered by the mentioned bent-six engine connected to a five-speed automatic gearbox. Following an update in 2016 though, a single undesignated model had been available.

No replacement known

At present, it remains unknown as to whether would introduce an eventual replacement, but should this happen, expect the model in question to derive motivation from an electric powertrain rather an internal combustion unit.

NOW READ: Retro remains: Toyota FJ Cruiser set for updates mid-year

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