Byline: Nick Yost, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
With the rush of buyers to softer, on-road crossover vehicles, it might appear the days of the rugged, go-anywhere SUV are coming to an end.
But Japanese giant Toyota isn't buying into that idea.
Hot on the introduction of its premium Lexus LX 470 and Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles, the manufacturer will unveil the second generation of its full-size Sequoia SUV in late December.
"We expect to see some life breathing back into that segment," Brian Smith, Toyota's corporate manager for truck operations, recently told a group of automotive journalists.
He said he "expects large-SUV sales to be 500,000 (annually) over the next three years - three percent of the automotive market."
Although his remarks were made before crude oil began flirting with $100 a barrel and gas prices edged toward $3 a gallon, Smith …