Watch Out, BMW M; Toyota’s Coming For You
When you think of Toyota, chances are you think of safe, reliable, if slightly boring cars that are affordable and come in varying shades of beige. But, if Toyota 86 lead engineer Tetsuya Tada gets his way, Toyota will become as known for its performance division as BMW is for its M sports cars or Mercedes is for its AMG vehicles.
Of course, Toyota currently only offers one sports car within its lineup—the aforementioned 86—though the automaker has been working on building what’s presumed to be a Supra successor for about the last gazillion years. Creating a sports division within Toyota would mean adding a number of new models, but if Tada can convince the higher-ups at Toyota to go in this direction, developing these vehicles won’t be a problem. After all, Toyota already makes some performance-worthy models through its TRD (Toyota Racing Development) division, though that tends to focus on trucks and SUVs.
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Rather than working with TRD to create this new performance division, Tetsuya-san would like to absorb Toyota Gazoo Racing, which competes in multiple forms of racing, from NASCAR to Super GT and WEC. “BMW and M and Audi and quattro GmbH used to be like the Toyota relationship with Gazoo—it wasn’t really one body, it was two separate things,” explained Tetsuya-san in an interview with CarAdvice. “But because of the time and the continuous effort, now they are together. So, I’m wishing that Toyota puts effort continuously, and then someday later, Toyota and Gazoo will be one body,” he said.
Merging Toyota and Gazoo Racing would certainly help the automaker brush off its rather staid reputation and inject a great deal of excitement into the brand. There are already a couple of models in the works that could eventually fall under the Gazoo umbrella, including the S-FR Concept that was unveiled at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, and the aforementioned BMW/Toyota-developed Supra successor.
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