Toyota GR – new Gazoo Racing sub-brand launched in Japan

Toyota is building on the upcoming Yaris GRMN with GR and GR Sport models in Japan. They could come to the UK

Toyota has announced the launch of the GR sub-brand, the Japanese marque’s new three-tiered performance line up that is spreading across most of its Japanese model range. The sub-brand has yet to be confirmed for other markets, but the UK is said to be under consideration thanks to the global interest in the forthcoming Yaris GRMN hot hatch.

Part of Toyota CEO, Akio Toyoda’s plan to banish ‘boring cars’ from the model range, the GR sub-brand will be split into three different categories offering different levels of performance paraphernalia.

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At the top will sit GRMN models, the branding that has already been seen on the Yaris denotes a full re-engineering program covering the majority of core components from a heavily modified engine, through the chassis, styling and interior. The same performance upgrades will also be applied to the Japanese domestic market Yaris (called Vitz).

> Click here for our review of the Toyota Yaris GRMN

Next step down is the GR range, combining upgraded suspension and brakes alongside new exterior and interior styling. Powertrains are left unchanged at this level and it will initially be limited to the GT86 and Vitz (Yaris).

Finally, the GR Sport moniker will be applied to a wider cross section of the Toyota range in Japan, adorning everything from a plug-in Prius to the comically named Noah people carrier with an aggressive body kit, updated interior and subtle tweaks to the suspension.

Other than that, GR will also offer individual parts to owners, giving them the option of mixing and matching GR add-ons with the numerous other factory options available in the Japanese market. 

Japan’s love of extensive and complex model lines is clear in GR’s roll out, leading us to believe that if we see GR in the UK in future, it is likely to take the form of something simpler, possibly more akin to BMW’s M Sport range.

Regardless of the possible roll out for the UK and Europe, the new GRMN Yaris and its corresponding GR sub-brand is more evidence that Toyota is serious about ditching its humdrum image.


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