There were a great many opinions when Toyota Motor Corp. last week took the wraps off the battery-electric vehicles and other products that will drive it over the next decade or so.
Some questioned the motivation for CEO Akio Toyoda's sneak peek; some questioned the true level of commitment of the world's biggest automaker to BEVs, some just looked at it as future product on parade.
But forget all that for a moment and focus, as I did, on that beautiful blue bonanza that Toyota looks likely to bestow shortly on its U.S. dealers: what it unceremoniously calls the Compact Cruiser EV, but what really looks to be the long-awaited return of the FJ Cruiser, albeit in BEV form, and improved.
Almost three years ago, I wrote a column that argued that Toyota probably wished it wouldn't have given the FJ Cruiser the ax in 2014, just as the latest off-road craze was kicking into high gear.
Much of my argument at the time was based on continued used prices for 2010-14 FJ Cruisers on the market, which I viewed as unmet demand.
Since that column, the industry has witnessed both amazing demand for Ford's resurrected Bronco and other off-road nameplates such as the new GMC Hummer EV and Land Rover Defender, as well as used-vehicle prices that are now at stratospheric levels.