The YouTube channel Automotive Press, run by David Koichi Chao, follows automaker goings-on in Japan. Via CarBuzz, we hear that Chao got hold of the latest issue of Japan’s Best Car magazine, and it contains some intriguing news about the new Toyota Crown. Best Car believes Toyota is planning to release a coupe version of the Crown in 2025 or 2026, and possibly a convertible Crown a year or two after that. The mag says Toyota wants to fashion Crown into a sub-brand that pushes Toyota above where the Avalon once sat but, obviously, not as high as Lexus. A potential Crown coupe would be a flagship for the Toyota range the same way the LC serves as a flagship for Lexus.
This is news we couldn’t begin to predict the veracity of. If there’s any segment having trouble supporting its own weight, it’s the big coupe segment for anything below Bentley and Aston Martin. That’s a shame, because there are some magnificent two-door heavy hitters out there that we recently beseeched rich people to buy more of. The BMW 8 Series still seems lost in the woods, the Audi R8 (emphasis more on “flagship” than “big” coupe) is on end-of-life care. The Lexus LC sold 2,782 units in the U.S. last year, the numbers this year already way down on that paltry sum. The S-Class coupe is dead, the Mercedes SL emerged from the woods a different car — as a convertible version of the AMG GT, which, by the way, sold 3,110 units of all three body styles last year in the U.S. (four-door, two-door, and convertible).
As for taking Toyota upscale, the LC starts at about $95,000, leaving ample room beneath for a Crown coupe in the $50,000 range, hypothetically. The tough bit is that the Lexus RC starts at about $45,000. A Crown coupe could be seen to have a different mission than the RC and court a different customer base, but how do you price the Crown without confusing the price/power/luxury equation between it and the RC?
According to Automotive Press, Best Car makes it seem like Toyota’s and Lexus’ lineups are going to diverge because of different powertrain paths — Lexus going electric in the mid-term, Toyota refraining from going all-EV for a while. The illustrations in Best Car make the Crown coupe and convertible look like less voluptuous versions of the LC; as if, for example, Lexus killed the LC and the car got redrawn and rebranded as a Crown coupe and roadster.
But again, we’re putting this here for future reference. We’d certainly be happy to see the Crown get another body style that also put a fun coupe on the market.