Last month, Toyota did the unthinkable by turning the Century into an SUV as an addition to the lineup sitting alongside the traditional sedan. It costs the equivalent of approximately $167,000 at current exchange rates and is available only in Japan where you can buy a Land Cruiser 300 for as low as $34,000. Despite carrying an exorbitant asking price, the company’s chairman thinks the high-riding Century will lure in younger buyers.
In an article published by the Toyota Times official magazine, Akio Toyoda said the Century SUV “will also suit younger people” as well as those “who previously felt that a Century [sedan] was not for them.” The former company president and CEO went on to mention the new flagship represents “the top premium, chauffeur-driven car not just within Toyota but in Japan.”
Akio Toyota recalls how the executive parking area at Toyota HQ in the Land of the Rising Sun used to have “nothing but Centuries” back in the day but the times have changed. Nowadays, some of the higher-ups prefer to be chauffeured in Alphards and Vellfires. When the two minivans were introduced as next-generation models in the second half of June, Toyota took the opportunity to tease the Century SUV before unveiling the luxobarge in early September.
It remains to be seen how many youngsters in Japan will be able to shell out this kind of money for the poshest Toyota SUV to date. The vehicle is offered in multiple configurations, including a sporty GRMN variant and one with electrically sliding rear doors. A bonkers four-door convertible has already been teased, with Toyota Chief Branding Officer Simon Humphries saying that “the possibilities are endless and open to discussion” as far as customizing the Century on stilts.
Regardless of version, these Century SUVs will not carry the Toyota badge. As is the case with the namesake sedan, the familiar logo is replaced with a gold phoenix motif as a nod to the Imperial House of Japan. The saloon has had this symbol since the first generation launched back in 1967.
Only Century Meisters, “a group of sales and engineers with extensive knowledge of the Century brand” found at select dealers are selling the Century models.