The Toyota LandCruiser celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2011 following the birth of the world-famous four-wheel drive in 1951.
To mark the occasion, Toyota Australia released the limited edition LandCruiser 200 Series 60th Anniversary last September. The vehicle is still available, offering more than $5000 worth of extra features.
The LandCruiser’s history can be traced back to the Toyota BJ, a military vehicle derived from a truck. After just six months it had already attained legend status, becoming the first vehicle to climb 2500 metres to the sixth hill station of Mount Fuji in Japan. As a result, the BJ was added to Japan’s police fleet.
In 1954, the new Type 25 BJ was given the ‘LandCruiser’ name, one that has been attached to every subsequent model.
Toyota began its worldwide export program in the late 1950s, and the 20 Series was the first model to arrive in Australia in 1957 – making it the first Japanese car to be regularly exported to Australia. The four-door station wagons were imported by B&D Motors as cab chassis with Australian made bodies.
Since then, Toyota has used the Australian outback extensively in the development of its LandCruiser vehicles. Designed for the land, the LandCruiser 200 Series wagon currently accounts for 72 percent of the Large SUV market.
With many established markets already well served by American and European manufacturers, Toyota instead targeted the LandCruiser at emerging markets like South America and the Middle and Far East.
In the mid-1960s, the LandCruiser concept was refined to offer a more car-like package – and since then has developed into the vehicles we know today.
It took 15 years for Toyota to sell the first 50,000 LandCruisers, three years to reach 100,000 sales, another three years to double that at 200,000 units, and from there just one year to reach 300,000.
Today, more than five million LandCruiser models have been sold in 188 different countries and regions around the world.
In Australia, the LandCruiser nameplate extends to the LandCruiser 70 cab chassis, LandCruiser 200 wagon and the LandCruiser Prado wagon.
In 2010, Toyota Australia sold 32,394 LandCruiser badged vehicles, up from 26,674 in 2009. Late last year, Toyota announced it had sold more than 750,000 LandCruisers in Australia.