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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The Volt Is A Moonshot? I Get It, It's THAT Moonshot

Since the early days of the Volt, the folks at GM loved to compare the car to putting a man on the moon. That analogy wasn’t without its problems. The moon program did cost more than three times its original budget of $7 billion, all it produced was a few rocks, and it ran out of money before it could get going in earnest. 40 years after Eugene Cernan and Apollo 17, the moon has remained untouched by human feet. But what the heck, GM loves the symbolism. To death.

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  • Namesakeone If you want a Thunderbird like your neighbor's 1990s model, this is not the car. This is a Fox-body car, which was produced as a Thunderbird from MY 1980 through 1988 (with styling revisions). The 1989-1997 car, like your neighbor's, was based on the much heavier (but with independent rear suspension) MN-15 chassis.
  • Inside Looking Out I watched only his Youtube channel. Had no idea that there is TV show too. But it is 8 years or more that I cut the cable and do not watch TV except of local Fox News. There is too much politics and brainwashing including ads on TV. But I am subscribed to CNBC Youtube channel.
  • Jeff S Just to think we are now down to basically 3 minivans the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna. I wonder how much longer those will last. Today's minivan has grown in size over the original minivans and isn't so mini anymore considering it is bigger than a lot of short wheel based full size vans from the 70s and 80s. Back in the 70s and 80s everything smaller was mini--mini skirt, mini fridge, mini car, and mini truck. Mini cars were actually subcompact cars and mini trucks were compact trucks. Funny how some words are so prevalent in a specific era and how they go away and are unheard of in the following decades.
  • Jeff S Isn't this the same van Mercury used for the Villager? I believe it was the 1s and 2nd generations of this Quest.
  • VoGhost I don't understand the author's point. Two of the top five selling vehicles globally are Teslas. We have great data on the Model 3 for the past 5 years. What specifically is mysterious about used car values?