Is Toyota Working on an FJ-Inspired Concept Called the FT-4X?
Could Toyota bring back the iconic FJ?by Mark McNabb, on
The U.S. Trademark and Patent Office often reveals automakers’ plans years in advance. That’s what we’re hoping is happening with Toyota’s recent filing. On October 10, 2016, Toyota filed to trademark the name “Toyota FT-4X.” Toyota has been using the “FT,” for Future Toyota, nomenclature to name its concepts for a few years now. Combine that with the “4X” name, and we’re anticipating a 4WD SUV that could fill the retired FJ-Cruiser’s shoes.
First discovered by Autoguide, the trademark filing is a promising bit of news. Toyota has built all previous “FT” concepts, including the FT-86 that became the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ, as well as the FT-1, believed to be the upcoming Toyota Supra sports car.
The idea of a FJ-Cruiser-style SUV makes sense. SUVs and crossover sales are on fire these days and other automakers are investing big money into the segments. Ford, for example, is set to revive the Bronco name. Jeep is giving the Wrangler a full make-over for the 2018 model year, and GMC has been rumored to be working on a hard-core Wrangler competitor.
Toyota knows how to build SUVs and off-roaders. The current 4Runner is a great example. Its body-on-frame design is coupled with its solid rear axle and loads of available off-road tech. The TRD Pro model turns the dial to 11, offering high-performance shock absorbers, meaty tires, increased ground clearance, underbody skid plating, and Toyota’s CRAWL Control system. The Tacoma TRD Pro also features many of the same technologies.
Currently the 4Runner is Toyota’s only off-road biased SUV and is one of the industries last-surviving traditionalists. While Toyota’s plans are completely unknown, we’re hoping the 4Runner will live on while being supplemented by this new FT-4X vehicle. We’ll keep you posted as information becomes available.
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Why It Matters
Crossovers and SUV are big sellers in today’s market place, so it would be logical for Toyota to cash in. Granted, no body knows what future fuel prices will be, but it seems most automakers are betting on a continuation of sub-$3/gallion gasoline. Given nothing changes in the next 18 months, the U.S. market is destined to be flooded by more high-riding, capable vehicles than ever before.
The 4Runner is currently having a great sales run, having sold 97,000 units in 2015 – a full 20,000 more units than in 2014. Sales for 2016 are on track to match, if not exceed, 2015’s numbers. Adding another SUV (and one that’s far more updated) to dealer lots, Toyota could bring huge profits for the Japanese automaker. Only time will tell, but we’re really hoping Toyota will compete with the Wrangler, Bronco, and whatever GMC has up its sleeve.
Hat tip to Autoblog
Read our full review on the 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser here.