Toyota on Wednesday announced an investment of $803 million to support production of two new crossovers at its plant in Princeton, Indiana—and one of them will be a Lexus.
The investment is expected to create approximately 1,400 jobs at the plant and even more at supplier facilities.
Both crossovers will be large, three-row models aimed at young, active families, and offered with electrification and seating for up to eight.
The Toyota is expected to be a long-wheelbase Highlander to be called the Grand Highlander. A quick search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office reveals Toyota made moves to protect the name last December.
The Highlander, which is built at the Princeton plant alongside Toyota’s Sequoia and Sienna, already comes with three rows but the last row is suitable for small children only. The Grand Highlander should address this shortcoming.
Toyota plant in Princeton, Indiana
Count on the Lexus being related to the Grand Highlander, just as the current RX and RX L are related to the Highlander. However, the Lexus is expected to be marketed under a new name, likely TX. The TX name has been rumored for almost a decade and Lexus last September filed trademark protection for it.
Toyota also confirmed on Wednesday that both crossovers will feature a driver-assist feature that will enable hands-free driving in certain conditions. This will likely be a version of the new Lexus Teammate feature that debuts in the 2022 LS. The system, which requires constant monitoring, can function in a single lane on some highways, as well as negotiate lane changes, navigate certain interchanges, and operate in traffic jams.
There will also be the ability to use a smartphone as both a digital key and a remote control system to park the vehicles from outside the cabin, Toyota said.
Timing for the new crossovers wasn’t mentioned.
Shown above is the Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept vehicle from 2018. It may hint at some of the styling cues destined for the new Lexus crossover, though it’s thought to actually preview a more upmarket crossover to sit alongside the LS and LC in Lexus’ flagship range. The LQ name has been mooted.