Space-age Marketing: Toyota Names Moon Rover After Land Cruiser

If you hadn’t heard, Toyota has pitched a lunar rover to serve as a vehicle for an upcoming international moon mission led by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and supported by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) — among other extra-planetary organizations. Conceptualized last year, the six-wheeled dune hopper offers more creature comforts than the original Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) produced by Boeing and General Motors’ Defense Research Laboratories decades ago.

But it needed a name, and Toyota figured it might as well find something fitting that also helped it market products here on Earth (assuming it’s chosen for the mission). Fortunately, the brand’s history includes a vehicle that’s known to be so reliable and adept at traversing unforgiving terrain that it’s become internationally famous for it: the Land Cruiser.

Announcing its decision Friday, Toyota said it wants the moon buggy to be named “Lunar Cruiser.” The automaker didn’t omit mentioning the obvious connection to its own SUV.

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Apocalypse With a Plug: Suzuki E-Survivor Unveiled in Tokyo

While in the midst of developing the next Jimny, a model you might remember better as the Samurai, Suzuki also made an effort to set up a secondary compact off-roader at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show. Less grounded than the fourth-generation Jimny, the e-Survivor concept looks like a mashup between Jeep’s Wrangler and the lunar rover NASA took to the moon.

The name suggests something serious but the design speaks directly to weekend rock crawlers and fun-loving dune buggy enthusiasts. It certainly looks capable of both activities. The open-topped two-seater uses a lightweight ladder frame, all-wheel drive, and has enough ground clearance to be a scrappy little off-roader. However, as an electric, its value as a legitimate “survival vehicle” is dubious — unless you’re willing to swap gas canisters for solar panels in your post-apocalyptic scenario.

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  • Marty S Crazy that there are 20 year old airbags out there. Have had airbag recalls on 2 of our cars (only one on each car), but how long do airbags remain safe? I always wondered why there was a recall on the passenger airbag on one of our cars, but not the drivers.Also had the airbag stolen from a 2003 Honda, and it was a nightmare to get it properly replaced by the insurance company.
  • El scotto The Horror! The Horror! Former Scirocco owner with VW PTSD. It cost more to maintain than the BMW it got traded for. The BMW cost more to maintain than the Mustang GT ragtop it got traded for.Will a used Jaguar F type ragtop lead to more counseling?
  • El scotto Most of us have radio and phone controls on our steering wheels. I have no problems pressing a button and speaking.
  • MaintenanceCosts This could either be the greatest car you'll ever buy or an exasperating money pit, and you have no way whatsoever to know before you sign on the dotted line.
  • Arthur Dailey In Ontario 'distracted driving rules apply' . In Ontario while driving or stopped in traffic including at a red light or a stop sign it is illegal to i) use a phone or other hand-held wireless communication device to text or dial – you can only touch a device to call 911 in an emergency, ii) use a hand-held electronic entertainment device, such as a tablet or portable gaming console iii) view display screens unrelated to driving, such as watching a video program or a GPS device. In fact, simply holding a phone or other device while driving is against the law. – Government of Ontario website.Other examples of distracted driving may also include: personal grooming, eating or drinking, tending to children or pets. From Campisi LLP.