Toyota Will Continue Developing GR Sports Cars Under New CEO

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

Though it’s long been known for building sensible, reliable cars, Toyota has emerged as an enthusiasts’ ally in recent years. The brand created the GR Yaris for other countries, but here in the States, we’ve got the GR 86, GR Corolla, and GR Supra, making Toyota one of our more performance-forward automakers. That could continue, as incoming CEO Koji Sato recently said the company’s former CEO and well-known gearhead might have more time to develop fast cars. 

Sato made the remarks at the World Endurance Championship race in Belgium this past weekend. The executive made it clear that Toyota is committed to Gazoo Racing (GR) and will continue developing vehicles under the sub-brand. He thinks the company’s outgoing CEO, Akio Toyoda, could help accelerate development with his newfound spare time. Speaking of Toyoda, also known as Master Driver, he said, “our Master Driver was also president of the company at the same time as he had a steering wheel in his hand for Gazoo. Now he is only chairman and maybe he will have a lot more time to develop cars for them.”

Though exciting, there’s no telling what this could mean for Toyota’s sports cars in North America and beyond. The automaker has flirted with building performance electric vehicles, including a hotter version of the bZ4X crossover, but nothing firm has been announced. Lexus is also eying speed, and we’ve seen its electric LFA successor several times at auto shows and events. 

[Image: Toyota]

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Chris Teague
Chris Teague

Chris grew up in, under, and around cars, but took the long way around to becoming an automotive writer. After a career in technology consulting and a trip through business school, Chris began writing about the automotive industry as a way to reconnect with his passion and get behind the wheel of a new car every week. He focuses on taking complex industry stories and making them digestible by any reader. Just don’t expect him to stay away from high-mileage Porsches.

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6 of 11 comments
  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on May 01, 2023

    GR8 news

  • Sid SB Sid SB on May 01, 2023

    The change in CEOs was very quick and they are already talking about new EVs.......felt like a board coup. Think the Chinese automakers like BYD have them worried with the speed they are moving to EVs?

    • See 1 previous
    • Sid SB Sid SB on May 02, 2023

      Good point, but BYD as an example. Wondering if Toyota is thinking the need to get more pace in their EV project and a change of CEO was the way to do this.

  • DungBeetle62 DungBeetle62 on May 02, 2023

    I'm recalling Ford saying this about ST models, followed quickly by the killing of the Focus and Fiesta and the introduction of the Edge ST.

    If Toyota plans to get all GR sporty, how many of us are all excited about a GR Highlander or Sequoia?

  • NotAnotherTeslaFanBoi NotAnotherTeslaFanBoi on May 02, 2023

    All the coming GR-branded soft-roaders will definitely stop customers from defecting to electric models. /s