Why Did Toyota Stop Making The FJ Cruiser? All Causes Are Here!

Toyota FJ Cruiser is a mid-size SUV with a nostalgic style. FJ Cruiser has an off-road style, inspired by the classic FJ40 Land Cruiser.

It was introduced as a concept car at the January 2003 North American International Auto Show. The FJ Cruiser was approved for production following enthusiastic consumer support.

Why did Toyota stop making the FJ Cruiser? To answer this question, we need to learn about the development roadmap of this car.

1. The Launch Of Toyota FJ Cruiser

The FJ Cruiser is mainly developed for the North American market. However, it has been sold in small numbers globally since its launch and received a lot of positive feedback. 

It officially debuted at the North American International Auto Show in January 2005. However, after only 3 years, it was officially discontinued.

The FJ Cruiser has been built by Toyota’s Hino Motors subsidiary in Hamura, Japan since 2006.

FJ Cruiser entered the Japanese market on December 4, 2010, which was announced on November 25 of that year.

On November 5, 2013, Toyota USA announced that the 2014 model year Trail Teams would be called “Final Edition” and that the 2014 model year would be the FJ Cruiser’s final year in that market.

It continued to be produced for sale in other markets such as Australia until export ceases in August 2016. As of January 2020, it is still sold in markets such as Chile, the Middle East, the Philippines, and South Africa.

The “Final Edition” of the FJ Cruiser went on sale in Japan on September 12, 2017. Toyota FJ Cruiser was officially discontinued on January 31, 2018.

2. Why Did Toyota Stop Making The FJ Cruiser?

Sales of the FJ Cruiser increased sharply in the first years since its appearance. It attracts first-time users from the unique retro style and performance offered by FJ.

However, sales plummeted from a high of 56,225 units sold in North America in 2006 to less than 12,000 units in 2009.

Critics blame the drop in sales on:

  • Increased competition in the mid-size SUV segment;
  • Poor fuel economy in the context of rising petrol prices;
  • Environmental concerns
  • The Jeep Wrangler’s steep competition.

Toyota hopes to address these concerns with a conventional engine instead of a premium engine with slightly increased fuel economy for the 2010 model.

3. Global Financial Crisis 2008

The 2008 recession was the beginning of a sharp drop in sales and the end of profits. This is also one of the important milestones of the global economic downturn that caused FJ Cruiser’s revenue to plummet and bottom out.

They were very popular at first, produced as a classic all-terrain machine. It is expected to be a vehicle that will conquer all terrain in the most difficult areas.

Unfortunately, the 2008 recession hit Toyota hard, and as a result, sales of the FJ Cruiser plummeted.

It was discontinued in 2014, although it had performed well before that and received a lot of positive feedback from off-road racers.

The FJ Cruiser’s resemblance to the classic Jeep is largely due to that.

The FJ Cruiser was intended to be Toyota’s shot at creating an off-road vehicle with competitive pricing and outstanding power at the time.

As sales continued to plummet due to the economic downturn, Toyota stated that sales were too few to continue developing the 2nd version and the FJ Cruiser ceased production in 2014.

4. Investment Orientation From Toyota

Toyota has admitted that it has cut costs in the production of the FJ Cruiser. Meanwhile, their competitors give evidence that they are constantly increasing their money on research and improvement of similar vehicles.

When it appeared at the 2003 Detroit Auto Show and went into production in 2006, the original FJ Cruiser received rave reviews.

Toyota FJ Cruiser - 2003 Detroit Auto Show
2003 Detroit Auto Show – Source: conceptcarz.com

Toyota released a statement saying how the FJ Cruiser was developed to be a basic, capable and affordable all-terrain vehicle, specifically aimed at off-road players who like to push boundaries.

Many of the vehicle’s designs and components are inspired by or adapted from the Tacoma and 4Runner, other popular Toyota vehicles.

In the end, Toyota made the mistake of cutting costs with the cabin, giving the competition an edge.

Sales reflect this, as the FJ Cruiser has never exceeded sales of its first when it sold 56,225 units in 2006.

Subsequent years will see maximum sales of around 14,000 units per year.

5. Toyota FJ Cruiser Can Be Revived?

When the FJ Cruiser was discontinued in the US, car enthusiasts still had a few options.

Japan continued production for a few years after the US stopped production. So American drivers can still buy an FJ Cruiser from Japan and import it overseas and have it shipped to their home.

Toyota’s marketing and production of the FJ Cruiser continued until 2017 when it was discontinued in Japan as well as most locations globally.

Toyota even made an official announcement with an exclusive Japanese model of the FJ Cruiser called the “Final Edition”.

From 2017 onwards, Toyota has left the FJ Cruiser in very few countries around the world. As of 2020, some territories and countries around the globe continue to offer the FJ Cruiser because its appeal still makes many riders crave to own.

Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) dealers are still taking orders for brand new units, even listing them on their website.

Although increased demand and more limited supply have helped the price of the FJ Cruiser increase significantly. The Middle East is also available at Toyota dealers with the FJ Cruiser as an option for racers.

Even Tokyo, Japan – where the FJ Cruiser is said to have ceased production in 2017 – has had similar models continue to be produced at the Hamura plant.

Toyota probably won’t bring back the exact name for the FJ Cruiser model soon. However, brand executives have strongly implied that a new off-road-oriented small SUV will appear in the coming years.

This new car will be optimized to go off-road. The all-wheel-drive won’t just be there for safety, but will instead be AWD with real ground clearance and a smaller wheelbase for navigating on rocky terrain. 

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