Toyota made a name for itself with economical and dependable cars like the Corolla or the Camry. But now the Japanese automaker plans a global debut of its six-figure superluxury flagship car.
The Toyota Century—described by some as the Rolls-Royce of Japanese cars—has long been a favorite among corporate and government leaders in Japan since its debut in 1967, reported The Wall Street Journal. But until now, the Century has been sold only in Japan.
Toyota recently unveiled plans to change the game with a new, larger, plug-in hybrid Century that will be available globally.
The hybrid model, “from the start had its eye on the world,” Executive Vice President Hiroki Nakajima said at the vehicle unveiling event in Tokyo.
Nakajima told the paper that the new Century model will be released this year in Japan and offered to customers globally at a suggested retail price of $170,000. Toyota announced some Japanese dealers will sell the model but didn't detail sales plans for other countries, the article noted.
The Century will target the larger, luxury vehicle segment that continues to grow. Until now, Toyota has primarily served the luxury market through its Lexus brand.
Toyota announced production of the new Century models will be limited to 30 per month, besides the continued production of the existing sedan type.
The Century model, Nakajima explained, is a means of showcasing Toyota's workmanship. The details of the overseas rollout plans will come later and be based on customers' initial reactions, he said.
The Century’s styling has traditionally been boxy and understated, typically black with chrome accents, reported a Business Insider article. The new models depart from the Century’s original styling and are similar in shape to a sports-utility vehicle and show a range of silver and gray shades.
Despite changes, the Century's interior will still cater to its original purpose of chauffeuring passengers, including rear seats that fully recline, the article noted.
Chief Branding Officer Simon Humphries told the Wall Street Journal that the new Century maintains “the highest of Japanese sensibilities,” while keeping changing customer needs in mind. It prioritizes passenger convenience, allowing them to have productive online meetings from the back seat while driving emission-free, Humphries said.