We all know Land Cruisers are the ideal vehicle for recreation.
But there’s really not much it can’t do.
With roots back to the Toyota Jeep BJ, the Land Cruiser proved its utility in military off-roading. Since then, the Land Cruiser has been used globally for everything from farming to oil fields to rescue missions. (It’s basically a superhero.)
Living out dreams in approximately 170 countries and regions worldwide, the stories it could tell are endless. We’ll explore a few of them here.
Land Cruiser superpowers
There are several aspects that enable Land Cruisers to reliably function in areas that other vehicles simply can’t.
Upkeep — They’re known for performing remarkably well for decades and decades without excessive maintenance. They require less costly cumulative repairs — costing roughly 25% less — over the first 10 years of ownership than the average of other popular SUV models.
There are some cases where 40 Series vehicles continue to be used (not just for show) more than 50 years after they were manufactured!
Terrain — The Land Cruiser is designed for areas where a breakdown could be fatal, so it’s built well and it’s built strong. This applies whether the road to your worksite washed out or you need to traverse a notoriously unforgiving desert plain.
Cargo — Land Cruisers have impressive towing ability along with cargo-hauling strength and capacity for lots of passengers, comfortably.
We want to acknowledge that Cruisers’ reliability make them highly-sought-after by heroes and villains alike. Sometimes Land Cruisers do fall into the hands of people who use them to do harm.
It’s tragic that the same vehicle used to promote positive industry growth and civilian well-being is put to military purposes in the Middle East.
Toyota has made efforts to minimize this unfortunate reality by strategically limiting exportation and preventing Land Cruiser resales in the first year of ownership.
Ultimately, we feel that the Land Cruiser’s utilitarian fruits are overwhelmingly positive.
We can’t cover this topic without talking about Land Cruisers and the Australian outback.
While Australians make up just 0.33 percent of the world’s population, they have bought more than 10 percent of all the Land Cruisers ever produced.
And for good reason.
Australia outside of the cities has some of the harshest terrains in the world. From space, you can see the far-reaching red, open, mostly-undeveloped landscape. You can actually fly 2,000 miles between cities and see only the slightest signs of human life.
There’s a saying in Australia that you can choose any number of vehicles to get you to your destination in the bush, but only a Land Cruiser will get you safely back.
So Land Cruisers are used by anyone needing to work in remote areas and city families who want reliable transportation.
They are used for cattle herding on ranches upward of 3,000 square miles and for hauling workers and supplies in zinc and copper mines as deep as 1 mile underground.
One of the first Land Cruiser customers in Australia was construction mogul Sir Leslie Thiess. Thiess bought several Cruisers to use on the rugged construction trails of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme, a hydroelectricity and irrigation complex in southeast Australia that was constructed between 1949 and 1974.
According to Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia Vice President of Sales and Marketing, even Land Cruisers struggled to thrive in Australia’s extreme conditions — initially. But Toyota responded with the best customer service you could hope for.
"Toyota flew out engineers from Japan who lived on-site to study and rectify the problems,” Hanley explained. “They also flew out parts and sent the broken bits back to Japan to analyze them and fix problems at the source.”
There have been countless other industry-based uses around the world, in South America, South Africa, and the Middle East.
Farming — In Costa Rica, the Land Cruiser is used to transport workers harvesting carrots on extremely steep slopes at extremely high altitudes (more than 11,000 feet). Even where people find it difficult to stand, Land Cruisers can go the distance.
Tourism — At the Tiger Game Reserve in Philoppolis, South Africa, Rodney Drew uses a fleet of 79 Series and 80 Series custom Cruisers to maximize game-viewing and photography opportunities for guests, single-cab Cruisers for everyday duties, and station wagons for transporting staff. Land Cruisers are a common safari vehicle throughout Africa.
Infrastructure — In Australia, Land Cruisers traveled a route with no road in order to install telegraph poles in the mountains. In Papua New Guinea, a Land Cruiser was used in road building out to the highlands. It carried heavy machinery up and down a steep slope daily in order to create a road to a gas field.
Sadayoshi Koyari joined Toyota with an assignment to develop suspension for the Hilux pickup truck and hone body-on-frame constructions involving the engine, drivetrain, and suspension mounted on the same steel frame. Koyari was also Toyota’s Land Cruiser chief engineer for 13 years.
He visited more than 2,000 locals in 80 countries during his term to see firsthand the good that Land Cruisers were doing and how they could be improved.
As tough as they are, Land Cruisers have broken down from time to time. During his term, Koyari was known to visit locations where this happened so improvements could be made. Thus, breakdown reports in tough global situations spurred additional tests and changes to increase Land Cruiser reliability.
Land Cruisers aid with healthcare and other needs related to well-being.
First Aid — Land Cruisers deliver aid via essential necessities and logistical support with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The ICRC responds to natural disasters, global conflict zones, or destruction of any kind.
Patient Transportation — In the Republic of Burundi in East Africa, Land Cruisers carry children infected with malaria to the hospital. In Uganda, they transport refugees in refugee camps to aid clinics.
Vaccines — The Land Cruiser was the first vehicle in the world to obtain the World Health Organization’s (WHO) pre-qualification for Performance, Quality, and Safety (PQS). The WHO used a refrigerated 70 Series to deliver and distribute COVID-19 vaccines.
Cruisers have long been used as emergency vehicles in Japan — in fact, the early 20 Series included a fire engine body variation.
Cruisers are a go-to for search and rescue missions.
The United Nations uses Land Cruisers as transportation for foreign diplomats during peacekeeping efforts and other matters.
No matter the task, it really doesn’t matter.
The Land Cruiser is the vehicle of choice for individuals and organizations the world over because it is simply the best at getting people around in potentially-problematic terrains.