Toyota is making LandCruiser 300 Series buyers in Japan commit to not reselling their cars within 12 months of purchase, in a push to stop them falling into the hands of terrorist groups.
According to Japanese publication Creative311, anyone signing on the dotted line for a new LandCruiser needs to confirm they’re not buying the LC300 for export or resale purposes.
There are more than 20,000 pre-orders for the LandCruiser in Japan, according to the report. The LC300 isn’t scheduled to hit Australia until late in 2021.
Mentioned in the form (Japanese, translated to English) published on Creative311 are “major problems that threaten global security”.
Although it’s not published in the contract, Toyota Japan customers are reporting they’re barred from selling the car for 12 months after delivery.
With their reputation for reliability and toughness, Toyota products have long been a favourite with extremist groups and militias.
The US Treasury Department has gone so far as to investigate why ISIS videos so consistently feature Toyota HiLuxes and LandCruisers.
Toyota USA issued the following statement in response to the investigation:
“Toyota has a strict policy to not sell vehicles to potential purchasers who may use or modify them for paramilitary or terrorist activities, and we have procedures and contractual commitments in place to help prevent our products from being diverted for unauthorized military use.
“However, it is impossible for any automaker to control indirect or illegal channels through which our vehicles could be misappropriated, stolen or re-sold by independent third parties.
“We are committed to complying fully with the laws and regulations of each country or region where we operate, and require our dealers and distributors to do the same.
“We are supporting the U.S. Treasury Department’s broader inquiry into international supply chains and the flow of capital and goods in the Middle East.”
As for the LandCruiser 300?
While the silhouette is a gentle evolution of the 200 Series, the front and rear now both feature LED lights, while the grille and bonnet have a bolder appearance.
The new GR Sport spec has black lower body trim, wheels, wing mirrors and wheel arch linings. It also has unique front apron, including a grille featuring the Toyota word mark for a retrotastic look.
At launch there will be three engine options, but given that Australian-bound 200 Series models are exclusively diesel-powered, the new 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel is of most interest to us. It makes 227kW of power and 700Nm of torque.
That’s up 27kW and 50Nm from the outgoing 4.5-litre twin-turbo diesel V8’s 200kW and 650Nm. This new diesel mill will likely be the only engine offered in Australia.
Towing capability remains unchanged at 3500kg.
A hybrid drivetrain is heavily rumoured to join the global range within a year or so.
The 300 Series range in the Middle East will be topped by a new 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6, which makes 305kW and 650Nm.
Both new V6 engines are hooked up to a 10-speed automatic transmission as standard.
For some markets there will also be a naturally-aspirated V6 engine with a six-speed automatic. Although Toyota has yet to provide details about this powerplant, indications are it will be carry-over 4.0-litre unit with 271kW and 385Nm.
The 300 Series LandCruiser is the first vehicle from Toyota to use the TNGA-F body-on-frame architecture.
It’s claimed the 300 Series is up to 200 kilograms lighter than the model it replaces. Some of these savings, we suspect, come from the new engines, but the company is keen to point out the new frame and body are lighter too.
Toyota says it has made enhancements to the LandCruiser’s off-road performance by lowering the centre of gravity, altering the weight distribution, and improving wheel articulation.
Top-spec models will be available with a new electronic version of the company’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System.
Vehicles equipped with e-KDSS are able to achieve a longer suspension stroke by “effectively disabling the front and rear stabiliser bars”.
Other off-road aids include a Multi Terrain Select system that automatically chooses the best driving mode for the current road surface, and a new Multi-Terrain Monitor, which uses the central display to show otherwise obscured obstacles from the driver’s point of view.