Toyota is sticking to its New Year's resolution to be less boring.
The Toyota FJ Cruiser gained cult status quickly after it went into production in part because it was the spiritual successor to the hugely popular J40 Land Cruiser. The Land Cruiser line eventually went the full-size luxury SUV route and left lovers of the purpose-built J40 on the sidelines until the FJ Cruiser came around in 2006. Nearly a decade later, Toyota pulled the plug. Sales had tanked anyways and a redesign didn't seem to offer the kind of return on investment that Toyota was looking for. Fans cried, butterflies died, it was a dark time indeed.
Toyota had spent much of the FJ Cruiser's lifespan cutting the enthusiast out of the rest of its lineup anyways, so what could go wrong? A lot apparently. Toyota is by no means hurting for sales, but the Japanese automaker's name and the word "boring" seem to be synonymous lately, enough so that CEO Akio Toyoda, a racing driver and staunch enthusiast himself, told his employees to inject life into the lineup. A new trademark for the name "TJ Cruiser" filed to the United States Patent and Trademark Office indicates that Toyota will do just that, claims Auto Guide. That name has a strong echo to the FJ Cruiser and it comes as no coincidence that the trademark came through shortly after the FT-4X Concept debuted in New York.
The concept was prime for the small crossover market, and then Toyota's studio design chief in California, Ian Cartabiano, confirmed that the FT-4X was already 75% production ready. We're connecting dots here but the theory is far from a reach. If the FT-4X does make it to the dealership, expect a lot of that gimmicky styling to be shed in order to keep the small SUV practical for production, but hopefully Toyota won't mingle with its rugged silhouette too much. To cash in on the small SUV craze with a masculine design, Toyota will probably have the TJ Cruiser ride on its TNGA C-Platform, which is shared by the Prius and mini Transformers lookalike, the C-HR. How could any Toyota fan say no?