Report: Toyota Creating Global Luxury Brand

Taking aim at Bentley and Rolls-Royce, the exclusive model lineup will be positioned above the Lexus brand, according to Forbes.

Greg Kable

January 26, 2024

3 Min Read
Toyota Century 6
Toyota Century SUV designed to take on Bentley Bentayga, Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

Toyota will spin off its lineup of upmarket Century models into a new standalone global luxury brand aimed at the likes of Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Mercedes-Maybach, according to a report by Forbes.

To be positioned above the Lexus brand, Century is planned to represent the ultimate in luxury, technology and exclusivity from the Japanese automaker, the U.S. business magazine claims, citing an internal source with knowledge of the matter.

Forbes says Toyota’s global ultra-luxury brand plans were revealed by an unnamed Toyota executive at the recent Tokyo Auto Salon, where the automaker displayed the one-off GRMN Century SUV.

The report is supported by a series of recent trademark filings for the Century name made by Toyota in various countries outside of Japan.

Toyota Century front 1.4.jpg

Toyota Century front 1.4

The trademark filings, lodged in December 2023, were made by Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha, which trades as Toyota Motor Corp. 

In September 2023, Toyota unveiled the Century SUV – an ultra-luxury model to rival the Bentley Bentayga and Rolls-Royce Cullinan, with a starting price of ¥25 million ($170,200).

The Century SUV is based on Toyota’s GA-K platform, which it shares with the North American-market Toyota Grand Highlander and Lexus TX. Power comes from a plug-in hybrid drivetrain that uses a transversely-mounted, turbocharged 3.5L gasoline V-6, electric motor and lithium-ion battery with a combined 406 hp.

Toyota announced at the Guangzhou motor show in November that it would produce the Century SUV in left-hand-drive form for sale in the Chinese market, a move seen as the first step in plans to spin off the brand and take it global. 

A previous attempt to market a left-hand-drive version of the third-generation Century sedan outside of Japan was placed on hold after the production of 100 units in 1998 – the only time Toyota has produced a Century model in anything but right-hand-drive form up until now. 

Toyota Century is a lineup of models produced primarily for the domestic Japanese market since 1967. More conservatively styled and equipped than models from the Lexus lineup, they are popular among the Japanese elite, including politicians, diplomats and business executives, and typically driven by chauffeurs.

Toyota Century interior.jpg

Toyota Century interior

Among the most prominent customers of the existing Toyota Century brand is the Japanese Royal Family.

Toyota Century models do not wear the Toyota badge. Instead, they use a distinctive gold phoenix logo from Japanese mythology.  

The Toyota Century sedan has progressed through three different model generations, the latest of which was launched in 2018.

The 210.0-in. (5,334-mm) -long luxury sedan is based on a long-wheelbase version of Toyota’s N platform, which is also used by the Lexus LS600h L. It is powered by a hybrid drivetrain with a turbocharged 5.0L gasoline V-8 and electric motor producing a combined 425 hp.

The Century sedan is produced at Toyota’s Motomachi plant at Toyota City near Nagoya in Japan, at the rate of 50 vehicles per month. The Century SUV is produced at Toyota’s nearby Tahara plant.

Toyota Century rear 3.4.jpg

Toyota Century rear 3.4


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