Toyota has two all-new 8-passenger SUVs in the works, and one's a Lexus
Toyota announced yesterday that its Princeton, Indiana manufacturing facility is receiving a major infusion of $ 803 million in cash. The reason? Toyota casually dropped that it will soon be building "two brand new three-row SUVs" there.
They are "designed with the Generation Y active American family in mind," which is another way of saying Toyota targets millennials. In case you missed it, Millennials are now in their late 20s and 30s! That means they have growing families and need more space to house them. Both new SUVs offer space for up to eight passengers. The other big revelation is that both are going to be electrified. We assume that in the case of Toyota these are normal hybrids, although there is also every possibility for a PHEV "Prime" version.
Both will have semi-automatic driving systems that are so advanced that they can "drive hands-free under certain conditions". There will also be a remote-controlled parking system with which “the driver can park and park outside the vehicle with a smartphone”. The last nugget of technology Toyota shares with us is that they both use a new “digital key” that turns your smartphone into a quasi-key and allows you to digitally share it with others.
Another piece of information about these two is that one will be a Toyota and the other a Lexus. How these two models are named is not yet clear. When we see a “three-row SUV,” our thoughts immediately go to Sequoia. This model is as old as it is now and urgently needs a redesign - the current generation was introduced back in 2008. However, Toyota does not specifically state that this news relates to the next-generation Sequoia. In fact, previous reports of the Sequoia's manufacturing facility being relocated to San Antonio have led us to believe that this news has absolutely nothing to do with a potential next-generation SUV.
Coincidentally, the Sequoia is currently being built at the Princeton, Indiana facility that receives that investment - the official switch to Texas is slated for sometime in 2022.
The language of Toyota in this press release, as well as the knowledge that Sequoia is leaving Indiana, suggests these two three-row SUVs may not be rough body off-roaders. You will likely be able (to hit the "active lifestyle" market), but the focus on families suggests that comfort may be paramount. It's hard to say if this will actually be a unibody construction, but we have a clue that this is the idea. It has to be significantly larger than the current Highlander. This three-row crossover is missing from other three-row crossovers in the third row, but is otherwise very competitive.
There's no official timing for these two SUVs, but it looks like they're not too far away when Toyota is already declaring their existence.
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