Land Cruiser Prado – Constant Development to a Position Of Market Leadership
information supplied by: Toyota South Africa Product
26 October 2009
The words “Land” and “Cruiser” provide an analogy with the majestic power and luxurious comfort associated with the great cruise liners of the world. Toyota has used these words in combination to create what has become one of the most significant off-road vehicle brands in automotive history, applied over a range of class leading vehicles in their individual market segments.
The superb reliability and durability of this range of vehicles, together with its renowned go-anywhere off-road capability, has earned the Land Cruiser the title of “Master of Africa”. The Prado is unique in the Land Cruiser range as the only model in this group of products to have a definitive name – with the Prado name adopted from the Portuguese word for Prairie.
The Prado fills the requirement for a core mid-size 4-wheel drive SUV with a traditional body-on-frame configuration in the Land Cruiser line-up and fits into a market – that for vehicles with a true off-road capability – that is globally a relatively stable one.
The explosive diversification in the unibody 4-wheel drive market since 2000 has seen a large number of compact and Premium SUVs appear on the market in rapid succession. These vehicles offer the style of a high-bodied 4WD vehicle with the feel of a luxury passenger vehicle together with an on-road ride quality that is generally considered more important than a high-level of true off-road performance and durability. For this reason their application is usually “softer” than that of the more robust body-on-frame type vehicles like the Prado.
In Contrast the Prado offers the defining characteristics of a body-on-frame type SUV – as represented by the design philosophy of the Land Cruiser family of vehicles from the outset – and offers a high level of true off-road performance together with outstanding reliability, durability, and robustness. The constant development of the Prado has seen these attributes combined with the highest level of comfort and on-road performance to provide for an exceptional all-round balance in a vehicle that is at home on urban boulevards as it is on the remotest of off-road tracks.
The Prado has its roots in the Land Cruiser 70 Series that was first introduced in 1984 although the name first appeared as local branding in some markets with a minor change to that vehicle in 1990. The Prado name was universally adopted with the introduction of the Land Cruiser 90 Series in 1996.
A significant event in the history of the Prado was the introduction of the 120 Series in 2002 when this all-new model put its stamp well and truly on the mid-sized SUV market. This new model saw an expansion of the Prado into 170 markets around the world with steadily increasing sales supporting the Prado’s progression to the market leader in its segment against strong opposition from competing brands.
The Prado has firmly established itself as the core model in the Land Cruiser family as a user friendly SUV with a smooth on-road performance and enhanced interior comfort, while at the same time offering true go-anywhere off-road performance.
Sales of the Prado now exceed those achieved by the flagship 100 Series and its 200 Series successor in terms of annual sales volumes. The latest generation Prado is set to build on that success by not only attracting new customers in existing markets, but also by expanding into new markets as well.
The Land Cruiser’s renowned versatility means that it can manage any driving situation, whether it is used mainly for on-road applications as an urban cruiser, or where it is used by the more adventurous to expand their motoring horizons into more remote areas.
This latest Prado offers a significantly improved on-road performance compared to the model it replaces together with a new level of interior comfort and functionality. It is also fitted with a full complement of luxury equipment and boasts the latest in off-road driving aids from Toyota.