Toyota Motor has unveiled a new, range topping SUV under its premium Century brand to strengthen its range of luxury models to meet demand from wealthy customers.

Toyota launched its first Century back in 1967 as a premium, chauffeur driven car, used in Japan mainly by VIPs such as royal families, politicians and corporate executives. The market later became dominated by western luxury brands such as Rolls Royce and Bentley.

Toyota said with this new model it “set out to create a completely new luxury Japanese vehicle that could stand its ground on the world stage”. The company began talking orders for the new hybrid SUV in Japan this week with domestic deliveries expected to begin by the end of the year and overseas deliveries to follow in 2024.

Prices start at JPY25m (US$169,000), around JPY5m more than the existing Century sedan model. Among the enhanced comfort features are fully reclining seats and rear doors which open 75 degrees to improve passenger access.

Toyota’s Tahara Plant in Aichi Prefecture is expected to produce around 30 units per month of the new Century SUV from next year.

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