Anton Andres / Toyota Gazoo Racing | August 07, 2017 12:42
Will Toyota Gazoo Racing become its own brand?
Toyota Motor Corporation announced several key changes in their motorsport division, Gazoo Racing. In their statement, key positions were renamed and six executives get a promotion. Does this mean Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) will be expanding their market reach? Or will GRMN be its own brand soon?
For starters, the current head of TGR, Mamoru Taguchi, now becomes Toyota's head of the Customer First Promotion Group and the Advanced R&D and Engineering Company. Osamu Sadakata now takes over the position vacated by Taguchi and will be the head of Gazoo Racing. Tetsuya Tada, the man behind the Toyota 86, has also been promoted as the chief engineer of the Development Management Division. Several other key personel from Toyota Motorsports Group (TMG) have also been transfered to TGR.
The Gazoo Racing Management Division now becomes the Marketing Division while the Development Division is now split into two, namely the Development Management Division and the Motorsports Development Division. The two new departments are likely for the expansion of TGR's lineup and, possibly, a wider distribution of Gazoo-tweaked cars.
Toyota Gazoo Racing has been actively participating in motorsport events in Europe and Asia. Along with that, the motorsports division has released special versions of Toyota vehicles in its home market. The road-going Gazoo cars are divided into two with the G's and GRMN-spec models. The latter are extensively re-engineered road cars and not just appearance packages. All of the GRMN cars are limited-run models.
The specially-tuned GRMN models started in 2009 with the iQ city car. Three years later, it was followed up by the supercharged iQ and, a year later, the supercharged Vitz (Yaris). The Toyota Mark X also got the Gazoo treatment in 2015 and last year, the motorsports division released a special 86. Except for the Yaris, which was limited to 200 units, all the cars tweaked by TGR were limited to just 100 units.
More recently, Toyota launched a Gazoo-engineered version of the Yaris in Europe to mark the brand's participation in the World Rally Championship. Known as the Yaris GRMN, it is the first TGR-engineered car to be offered outside of Japan. The introduction of the high-performance Yaris may be an indication of the possibility of expansion. Gazoo Racing has also been active in a few ASEAN markets, namely in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines with the Vios Cup.
At the moment, Toyota Gazoo Racing is not active in the North America, Latin America and select European markets.