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THE HISTORY OF THE TOYOTA LAND CRUISER
Behind The Toyota Land Cruiser Name
Once we got there, we saw there was a pillar in the middle of the steps and were forced to give it up as impossible. Instead we rode up the steps (no longer existing) leading to the Fudo temple in Okazaki city. Much like Heikuro might have done, Ichiro Taira went up the steps zigzag-fashion and reached the top without any difficulty. An incredible feat! This if nothing else convinced us of the worth of our new product.
In England we had another competitor; Land Rovers and Jeeps! I had to come up with a name for our car that would not sound less dignified than those of our competitors. That is why I decided to call it “Land Cruiser”.
The Early History
For this reason Toyota called its prototype the Toyota Jeep, and by combining a B-type engine with a Jeep model it was known as the BJ. However, the vehicle which was ultimately selected the National Police Reserve Forces was the Willys Jeep. The Toyota Jeep BJ had been rejected on this project, but in July of the same year test driver Ichiro Taira did a test run under the supervision of officials from the National Police Agency, and performed brilliantly, climbing by car all the way up to the No. 6 checkpoint on Mt. Fuji. The test run was viewed favorably, and in August this model was officially adopted as the patrol car for the National Police Agency.
However, large-scale production of the Toyota Jeep did not begin until August of 1953. In the first year 298 Toyota Jeep BJs rolled off the production line. Later, in addition to the patrol car for the National Police Agency, Toyota also received orders from the Forestry and Agricultural Agency and from Electric Power companies.
The next year in June of 1954, responding to claims of trademark violation by the Willys Company that produced the original Jeep, as well as viewing opportunities for export, then Director of Technology Hanji Umehara renamed the 4-wheeled vehicle as the Land Cruiser.