Toyota to Reintroduce Lexus RX-Based Harrier Crossover in Japan

Toyota Harrier 2013

A brief moment of Lexus history for anyone new to the brand: despite being a Japanese company, Lexus vehicles were badged as Toyotas in Japan until 2005. For instance, the Lexus LS was known as the Toyota Celsior, the GS was the Toyota Aristo, and the RX was called the Toyota Harrier.

When the Lexus brand finally launched in Japan in 2005, the Toyota versions were phased out one by one until none remained — so, imagine the surprise when Toyota announced plans yesterday to reintroduce the Harrier crossover in Japan:

Unlike the previous generations, this Harrier is much more than just a swapped badge — however, the similarities between the Toyota & current Lexus RX are unmistakeable:

Lexus RX vs Toyota Harrier

Some media outlets have suggested this new Harrier hints at the next-generation RX, but it seems unlikely. The current RX was introduced in 2009 and refreshed last year, the next-generation RX is likely two years away. Surely, Lexus has more bigger plans for its best selling model than basing it on a JDM-only Toyota.

(Not to mention, Lexus sells the RX in Japan and having two identical models would do nothing for brand perception — though that hasn’t stopped them with the Lexus HS & Toyota SAI.)

[Source: Car Watch]