Toyota’s long-selling vehicle, the Land Cruiser has passed the 10 million-unit mark in global sales at the end of August according to the automaker’s own data; this production run originated at the launch of the Toyota ‘Jeep BJ’ in August 1, 1951.

In that time, the Japanese 4X4 icon has grown from its utilitarian roots and evolved along with the times and gained luxury appointments to cater for a wider audience, though it continues to serve across a wide range of humanitarian roles and various others which demand the Land Cruiser’s versatility and durability.

The Land Cruiser 20 Series marked the beginning of full-scale export in November 1955, and the Land Cruiser charted sales of less than 100 units annually in the early years, though this had grown to over 10,000 units per year by 1965, 10 years after full-scale exports had been put in motion. Global annual sales presently stands at approximately 400,000 units across 170 countries and regions, says Toyota.

The Middle East had by far the lion’s share of Land Cruiser sales last year with 132,000 units sold, with other significant markets comprised of Europe (54,000 units sold), Oceania (46,000 sold) and Asia (45,000 sold). North America (36,000 units) charted just ahead of the Land Cruiser’s native Japan (30,000 units), while Africa and Latin America accounted for 23,000 units and 10,000 units sold, respectively.

There are regions where the 40 Series Land Cruisers continue to see service, some 50 years after they were first produced, Toyota said. Various models of the nameplate also continue to provide basic mobility in some of the most remote parts of the world, such as transport in zinc and copper mines in Australia about 1,600 m underground, as well as for herding cattle on vast ranches across the country.

Humanitarian assistance is a significant role for the Land Cruiser; the venerable 4X4 ferries malaria-infected children to hospital in Burundi, while in Uganda, it transports patients to clinics. In less life-threatening but no less crucial operations, the Land Cruiser helps collect crops in Costa Rica; the off-roader helps harvest carrots at altitudes up to 3,500 m and on slopes that are difficult for humans to stand on, the company says.

At the other end of the model range, the J200 Land Cruiser serves up its robustness and off-road capabilities in a generously equipped package, with the Lexus LX570 offering an even more luxurious take on the large 4X4. Out of all the iterations of the Land Cruiser, which have been your favourites?

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