Having surprised the world with a 17-EV line-up on December 14, 2021, Toyota is back in the spotlight for another blitz of future products. The company unveiled not one but four all-new Toyota Crown models on July 15, 2022, two of which looked certainly like the first-ever Toyota Crown Electric models. As we explain in this story, the announcements are connected.
The Crown Sport hatched from the Crossover EV concept
When Toyota showcased 17 EVs in December 2021, 16 were brand-new models that hadn’t had their official debut yet, with the Toyota bZ4X being the exception. Nobody saw this swarm approaching, but there was a Toyota Crown Electric hiding in plain sight among those vehicles – the Toyota Crossover EV concept.
Among the four all-new Crowns, the Crown Sedan, which certainly has more than a few design lines common with the Mirai, directly replaces the current, fifteenth-generation Crown sedan. Its three siblings are the ‘Crown Crossover,’ ‘Crown Sport,’ and ‘Crown Estate.’ Except for the all-black finish on its alloy wheels, the Toyota Crown Sport looks exactly like the Toyota Crossover EV concept car.
Even the Toyota Crown Estate (pictured below) appears to be an electric vehicle. Its closed textured plastic mask in place of its radiator grille is a typical design attribute of modern-day EVs. Toyota hasn’t provided information, only stating that the rear seats can be folded flat to create a flat cargo area in this car.
The Toyota Crown electric SUV was reported to be under development by Reuters on April 14, 2022. Toyota was asked in a Q&A session after the sixteenth-gen Crown’s world premiere about offering a zero-emission Crown in the future, whether as a battery-electric model, hydrogen fuel-cell model, or hydrogen engine model. In response, Hiroki Nakajima, President of Toyota’s in-house Mid-size Vehicle Company and the all-new Crown’s development chief, said the company would consider launching carbon-neutral Crowns in different regions based on customer needs.
Toyota plans to introduce all four Crown models one after another over the next one and a half years, Nakajima said during the world premiere. In mid-decade, Toyota could launch the first Crown electric model(s) following the launch of the combustion and partially electrified versions. Toyota is reviving the Crown in America in the sixteenth generation, starting with the Crown Crossover (official U.S. name: Crown). There is no reason why the Crown Electric model(s) won’t be launched here as well.
The dip of the Crown
The Crown, a legacy nameplate of Toyota, has mostly succumbed to the diminishing popularity of sedans. On February 13, 2021, Best Car reported that it ranked 27th sales in Japan’.
In 1990, Toyota was able to sell about 205,000 units (17,000 units/month) of the Crown. Then, Japanese customers began liking minivans, and in 2000, the annual sales fell to about 101,000 units (8,400 units/month). In the next ten years, the yearly sales had halved again. In 2010, Toyota dealers sold about 41,000 units. In 2019, the annual sales had dropped to approximately 36,000 units.
Today, the Crown faces stiff competition from executive minivans that allow sort of a mobile office set up and SUVs that are more practical and suitable for adventure trips. With the survival of the Crown on the line, Toyota has responded strongly and quickly to turn things around.
Featured Image Source: Toyota