Chicago Auto Show: Toyota ramps up grassroots efforts for 2007 SUV

CHICAGO: Hoping to keep younger buyers interested in its brand, Toyota unveiled a new SUV at the Chicago Auto Show's press preview that won't go on sale until 2006.

CHICAGO: Hoping to keep younger buyers interested in its brand, Toyota unveiled a new SUV at the Chicago Auto Show's press preview that won't go on sale until 2006.

The FJ Cruiser is aimed at young male buyers, a group that has been turning away from Toyota because they thinks of the brand as something their parents' generation bought.

Toyota started the Scion brand, which began selling in 2003, to attract this audience, but the FJ will be its attempt to move young buyers up from Scions to Toyota trucks and SUVs, explained Mike Michels, corporate communications manager with Toyota Motor Sales USA.

"We're eager to talk about it earlier than normal," Michels said of the new FJ.

Toyota will continue talking about the new model at major auto shows in the US and will start reaching out to all-terrain-vehicle owners' groups to develop grassroots interest in the new model, which can be purchased with four-wheel drive for off-roading.

"We will reaffirm our credentials in the off-road realm" with the FJ, Michels said. "It is the kind of product you can do a lot of grassroots things with."

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