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The company is looking at several ideas that would fill a niche once occupied by the FJ Cruiser.

Toyota has dropped a heavy hint that one of its recent off-road concepts will enter production.

Speaking to Motor Trend at the Detroit auto show, Toyota Motor North America chief Jim Lentz said: "there's room for an authentic small off-road SUV" despite the company's decision to retire the FJ Cruiser from the US market just a few years ago.

"Everyone moved out of that segment because of truck CAFE ratings," he added. "But we're getting a lot of requests from folks who want another FJ or some variant."

The company unveiled the FT-4X concept early last year as a rugged looking crossover designed for the "less extreme" purposes of urban millennials. The more recent FT-AC concept is billed as a more genuine off-road vehicle.

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Whatever model Toyota chooses for production, trademark filings suggest it could be named the TJ Cruiser.