The 'legendary' Toyota Land Cruiser barely sells in the US, but is still a hit around the world

Why the Toyota Land Cruiser is disappearing from America
Why the Toyota Land Cruiser is disappearing from America

The Toyota Land Cruiser is often said to be a living legend in much of the automotive world — appreciated by off-roaders, workers in rough rural areas and a favored vehicle of United Nations and NATO forces.

But it seems to barely sell in the United States.

Toyota sells little more than 3,000 Land Cruiser's a year in the U.S., compared with more than 40,000 in Australia, its biggest market.

That is remarkable for what has been Toyota's longest-running product in the United States. The Land Cruiser was the sole vehicle Toyota sold for awhile in the U.S. in the early 1960s, while the company worked out issues on its new export sedan.

But now, at a time when sport utility vehicles are at their most popular in history, the Land Cruiser is an overlooked product.

Part of the trouble is competition, which has grown fierce in the high-end luxury SUV segment, where the Land Cruiser sits with its starting price of more than $85,000. Buyers can choose from high-end SUVs made by Land Rover, Mercedes, and Porsche. Toyota even sells the Lexus LX, a luxury full-size that shares many of the capabilities and basic underpinnings with the Land Cruiser, for not much more money.

Toyota also has not updated the Land Cruiser in years, and spends little-to-no money marketing it in the U.S.

At least one report said Toyota may pull the Land Cruiser from the U.S. after 2022. Most recently, MotorTrend's Jonny Lieberman reported in an Instagram post that he heard of the plan to cancel the Land Cruiser in the U.S.

Toyota told CNBC it is not discussing future product plans.

While the Land Cruiser languishes in the U.S., sales of the smaller, cheaper, off-road ready Toyota 4Runner SUV have skyrocketed over the last several years.