The death of the traditional truck-based body-on-frame SUV has been predicted for quite a while. While sales of car-based crossovers have far eclipsed their more traditional brethren, Toyota says there is enough of a market for more traditional utilities, that it is committed to keeping them in its lineup, Automotive News reports.
In the U.S. market, Toyota sells the 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Sequoia and Land Cruiser. Combined sales of the four body-on-frame models was 78,457 for 2012, compared with 121,055 of the Highlander alone, not to mention the 171,877 compact RAV4s
sold in the same period.
Motoharu Araya, executive chief engineer for Toyota's global truck and SUV lines said, "There are multiple customers for us. Some want to drive off-road, some want to tow with their families, and some want to commute. Towing and durability are very difficult with a monocoque [unibody] vehicle.
Of the company's current body-on-frame SUVs, the one most in danger of being dropped is the 4Runner-based FJ Cruiser, which features vintage-inspired styling reminiscent of the company's early FJ40 Land Cruisers. Total 2012 sales for the FJ Cruiser were just 13,656 units, compared with more than 140,000 of its closest marketplace equivalent, the Jeep Wrangler. But Toyota says as long as there's demand for the rough-and-tumble retro-looking 4x4, it will continue to produce it.
Source: Automotive News