Toyota Might Consider GR Variants of Crossover Models


toyota might consider gr variants of crossover models

While it would be incredibly simple to write such musings off as a cynical marketing exercise, it doesn’t seem that Toyota is eager to sully the measures of performance cred enjoyed by the GR name.

A  report from Oz suggests those holding the levers of power at Toyota could be on the cusp of permitting the Gazoo Racing moniker to be applied on SUVs and crossovers. Speaking to an outlet down under, a top ranking GR official – GR President Tomoya Takahashi himself, in fact – expressed the notion that a market for high performance machines in that segment does exist and that GR could play a role in capturing part of that pie.

“Some people can only use SUVs because they have families,” he said through a translator, pointing out the desire of some gearheads to retain a skiff of driving enjoyment in their lives even after the arrival of youngsters. Certainly, a precedent exists here with the likes of BMW and Mercedes long having offered hot variants of crossovers such as the X6 M and AMG-ized GLwhatever.

GR currently has numerous projects in the hopper, so it is unlikely one of these machines will pop forth from the skunkworks any time soon. Indeed, Takahashi is said to have emphasized the “in the future” portion of his comments during media availability with reporters earlier this month. And there’s nothing to say any creation will ever be shipped to North America.

Still, it is our opinion that Toyota would not completely deep-six the GR name with such a move, considering the care with which they’ve built the brand to date. This is worth mentioning since history is rife with such attempts to mine any scrap of popularity a sporty or specialized trim has created. As just one example, witness when General Motors captured lightning with the Pontiac 6000 STE, only to migrate most of the STE’s styling cues onto lesser trims the next model year thus spoiling part of the STE’s appeal and unique selling proposition.

Given the deep history between Toyota and Gazoo Racing, it is unlikely that’ll happen in this instance, so we don’t expect a GR Grand Highlander. But a GR RAV4 with lowering springs and more power isn’t totally outside the realm of possibility.

[Image: Toyota]

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