The Story of Toyota Crown: Japan’s First Luxury Sedan

In 2020, Toyota’s executive sedan, the Crown, marked its 65th anniversary. So how was the very first model like?

A car made for Japanese rough roads

The first generation of the Toyota Crown was introduced in 19955. Since then, the car has been the perfect selection for people who want ultimate comfort and great drivability. In 2018, the car was updated with the fifteenth generation model.

1955 Toyopet Crown
1955 Toyopet Crown

The development for the Crown started in the early 1950s when Japan was seeing its rapid growth in both economy and industry. Today, Japan is one of the countries with the best road environment in the world, but at that time, only about 1% of the entire roads were paved, and the roads were not very comfortable to drive.

Quality for cars was also superior to that of European and American automakers and domestic automakers formed alliances with those. For example, Nissan teamed up with Austin from Great Britain, and Hino with Renault from France to produce their cars in Japan. In short, domestic makers at that time, with their weak technological capabilities, received blueprints from foreign makers to produce cars with better performance.

However, Toyota continued to develop cars on its own in order to pursue the dream of making domestic cars by Japanese hands, which was set forth by Kiichiro Toyoda, the second president and the de facto founder of the company.

Then, in January 1955, the first generation Crown, developed under the concept of “developing a car that is comfortable even on Japanese rough roads”, was introduced. The development was led by Kenya Nakamura, who had moved to Toyota to follow Kiichiro Toyoda.

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The first generation of the Toyota Crown