Toyota last week launched the new performance sub-brand GR in Japan.
Toyota said the GR name, which refers to the automaker’s Gazoo Racing motorsport department, will be expanded to other markets. It seems, however, that the United States won't be one of them.
Speaking with Automotive News (subscription required), Gazoo Racing boss Shigeki Tomoyama said Toyota won’t use the GR name in the U.S.
The reason is that Toyota feels the existing TRD (Toyota Racing Development) sub-brand is already well established here and doesn’t need changing. Some execs are also reportedly reluctant to embrace the Gazoo name because of the connotations with “The Flintstones” cartoon character the Great Gazoo.
2017 Toyota Yaris GRMN
The good news is that Tomoyama said Toyota models sold in the U.S. would receive some of the GR treatments.
GR cars will come in three flavors. At the entry-level is GR Sport which consists of cars fitted with bolt-on parts. Above this is GR which includes cars with more substantial modifications but no power upgrades. At the top is GRMN whose cars are limited-edition models with more powerful engines and numerous other mods. The first GRMN car is the Yaris GRMN unveiled earlier this year.
In his interview with Automotive News, Tomoyama also revealed that GR will eventually develop a standalone sports car. Tomoyama didn’t reveal any additional details on the sports car, though we know it won’t be Toyota’s new Supra which is coming soon.
“We are taking the challenge of adopting new tastes created in this process to stock cars as much as possible,” Tomoyama said. “In its next phase, we will get a designated sports car platform and eventually—finally—we want to introduce a pure, genuine sports car which can compete against top-class world competitors.”