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German-based Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) is set to become the motorsport division of Toyota passengers cars as the Japanese giant gets even more serious about creating performance cars.

Speaking to the media at the Toyota Europe Motorsport facility in Cologne, Germany, Yoshiaki Kinoshita, president of TMG, said the facility would become to Toyota what AMG is to Mercedes-Benz.

“After we stopped Formula One [involvement] we decided several things. One of these things is to to become a [Mercedes] AMG-type company; we are now trying [to make it happen]. How feasible [it will be] I don’t know. But we are in a very good position.”

The Cologne-based facility has endured a hard time since Toyota pulled out of Formula One in 2009. The facility has shrunk from about 800 staff in the prime of Toyota’s Formula One involvement to about 200 in its current form.

Kinoshita has been instrumental in keeping the facility alive and ensuring Toyota’s recent involvement in the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race. He spent three months in Japan to convince Toyota management that the Cologne facility, which comprises a state-of-the-art wind tunnel and many high-cost testing facilities, should remain operational and under Toyota control.

Currently the facility is used by numerous Formula One teams for several types of testing, including aerodynamic (wind tunnel) and gearbox durability testing. Toyota also uses the facility to run its global motorsport division. Although the facility doesn’t create high performance engines (they come from Japan), it’s in charge of almost everything else for Toyota motorsport.

TMG secretly began working on a car to compete at the Le Mans endurance race straight after the decision was made to leave F1, though it wasn’t until 2011 that the project was given the official green light from Toyota Motor Company (TMC) in Japan. The decision to do the project without initial TMC approval gave the company a two-year head start with the modelling and computer testing of the TS030s LMP1 cars.

These days the division is actively working on numerous projects, including the potential for a world rally championship re-entry in 2014 with a 1.6-litre turbocharged Toyota Yaris. TMG has also already committed to selling a Toyota Yaris R1A rally car for around 20-25,000 euro.

Kinoshita, a long-time motorsport veteran who has been involved with Toyota as far back as the company’s 1993 Le Man entry, was visibly excited about his facilities’ future.

“I cannot show you today [what cars we are working on] but we have those kind of [performance] cars; not AMG [but] change [the] A to T”.

The facility will also tune Lexus vehicles but Kinoshita would not confirm which Toyota or Lexus models would get the TMG treatment in the future. The company, however, has confirmed that it is actively working on numerous projects, including a Lexus LS460 with a twin-turbo 4.6-litre V8 with around 650bhp.

TMG’s technical director, Pascal Vasselon, said: “It’s quite logical when you are a racing company to help your whole division to produce ultimately more exciting cars. Considering that we at TMG didn’t want to rely just on Motorsport, but on several pillars.”

Asked about the LS460 project, Vasselon said: “Basically the car is … every single part is reworked – we start from the body shell and then [it's] heavily transformed.”

The vehicle’s engine, suspension, bodywork and pretty much everything else is changed. Although Lexus appears to have taken current priority at TMG, Vasselon said TMG would be open to any requests from the company for other models.

“We are just happy to deliver a fast car, a high performance car. We have started with LS but we may have some other models…” Vasselon said. He also said the use of a TMG badge may officially be confirmed in the next 6-9 months.

Asked why the LS was chosen, Vasselon hinted at the directive from Japan but also elaborated that “one of the interesting challenges was to make this big car reactive and fun to drive”.

Although CarAdvice believes it extremely likely, the actual TMG badge is not yet officially confirmed, even though the Yaris YR1 rally car and supercharged Toyota IQ we drove today already had TMG badges inside.

As it currently stands, no work has been undertaken to further enhance the recently launched Toyota 86 sports coupe, but given the nature and future position of TMG, it’s only logical to assume that a faster, more performance orientated Toyota 86 TMG is on its way.

The move would follow Toyota Australia’s unsuccessful bid to inject some excitement into the range when it launched the TRD (Toyota Racing Development) brand in 2007. It was abandoned just 16 months later, with fewer than 1000 customers opting for performance versions of the Aurion large car and HiLux ute, as Toyota Australia blamed the global financial crisis for its demise.

Toyota’s president, Akio Toyoda, has promised the company will build more exciting cars after its quality reputation had taken a hit in 2010 with millions of recalled vehicles.




  • Philthy

    Supercharger kit for the 86 please mr TMG.

  • TG

    Why do I think AMG? Mercedes-Benz must be really impressed with this one. Will it be a fail like TuRD?

  • Pirate Post Office

    I know let’s get really radical… Ok then here we go!

    We will boldly increase rim size from 15″ to 16″

    The interior grey will go deeper by one tone

    Flashy gold badging and fluro headrest doilies.

  • nugsdad

    Just what the world needs faster white Camrys. Just think of the benefits.
    Travel at the same speed in the fast lane and use a lower gear.
    Drive with foot on the brake pedal and wear the brakes out even faster.
    Cause accidents that you previously wouldn’t have even got to.
     

    • Kaas

       have you got insurance claim data that shows Camry drivers have most accidents?
      last time i saw data, it wasnt Camry at the top.

      if you dont have data…. then your just talking bs.

      • Pirate Post Office

        Don’t you know that Toyota drivers wear cardigans, play bowls, refer to the car sound system as the wireless , enter a freeway on ramp by first stopping to see if the road is clear and they drive at 60kms per hour in the right hand lane of freeways… Oh,
        And they wear hats, homburgs I think.

        • F1MotoGP

           ..that includes Toyota GT86, Supra..etc??

          • Phil

            Those Toyotas generally have their male owners wearing gold jewellery, leather jackets, a crucifix hanging from rear view mirror and drive with the seat fully reclined. [which can't be good for accident stats].

          • Pirate Post Office

            No, the 86 must be due to Toyotas chairman having had one too many whiskeys and actually approving an exciting car.

        • Kaas

          Most accidents, serious ones too, are caused by drivers zig zagging in traffic, then have to urgently press brake or swerve, hence clipping another car or into trees…. those cardigan driving, lawn bowl playing drivers might be frustrating, but they are far from your dangerous drivers….

  • For The Rd

    TRD did not fail because of the GFC. We didn’t see a drop in people purchasing AMG’s and M’s. It was just Toyota Australia moronic and idiotic decision of “TRD’ing”  a Large Grandpa sedan and a Tradie Ute!! Instead. They should have focused first on the smaller cars like the Corolla. This is where Toyota would have created a “Halo” car for the youth, ala Evo Lancer and the WRX and STI. If it was a German car then fine, makes sense.  

    • Adrian

      So agree with you. TRD Australia stuffed up big time with the hilux. Had they done say a yaris or corolla then it would have been more successful.

    • JooberJCW

      Perhaps, but still the market for a AMG / M over a TRD are different, just look at the price difference. The GFC took more scalps in the lower / middle class people who took much of the brunt from no bonuses and job cuts. High flyers on high incomes can usually shrug the market and ecomomic downturn better than those less.

      A better comparison is to FPV HSV if they dropped significantly in sales during the GFC then Toyota has a plausable argument.

      I completely agree with you, that the Corolla should have had the works done to it over an Aurion and a Hilux, 

  • Jonty

    Like it, just hope that because the base car is less expensive that they keep the TMG less expensive. I think a corolla would be a good base, and give us a Evo or Sti competitor.

  • ABCDEFG

    Toyota definitely knows that :
    - Stiffer springs/aggressive shocks provide better handling at the expense of ride comfort

    - Huge alloy wheels/low profile tyres look cool, provide better handling at the expense of ride comfort 

    - Wider tracks have less body roll and corners better

    - Thicker anti-roll bars reduce the body roll

    - Lower centre of gravity is better handling. As evident in the 86

    - Lower air drag increase the fuel economy and the top speed

    - Lower weight improves acceleration and fuel economy

    - Toyota knows the conservation of energy/kinetic energy/speed better than anyone else as evident in their leading hybrid technology

    They don’t need a random German guy to teach them all these. But their marketing department knows too well that most of the fanbois aren’t technically inclined and they know that when those fanbois see “German involvement” those fanbois will go ga-ga and buy their cars. It’s a marketing move only.

  • JamesB

    It’s a shame Toyota are beaten by much smaller Japanese companies in building exciting cars, but with the 86, it’s a great sign. A new Supra would also be nice, slotting in between that car and the Lexus LFA. The current Yaris, in fairness, looks pretty good, but fingers crossed, the rally version gets the green light and sent to Australia. Hopefully they also return to F1, even just as an engine supplier, as the sport will change to 1.6-litre V6 turbo motors.

    • Doctor

      Wouldn’t it just be simpler to get someone else to make the “exciting” cars like the 86 and the 2000GT (years ago) and stick to its knitting for the masses.

  • antman70

    TMG certainly sounds better than T(u)RD !

  • Phil

    YEEESH. That interior shot. Looks like a 1985 Lada Samara. Who in their right mind would want that?

    • Legnab

      Came std with a snap out gear stick , didn’t brocky have some involvement ?

  • Valet Dabess

    ooooh maybe brabus will get their hands on the yaris and make it have 1000+ Nm of torque lol

  • Altezza

    TMG and AMG logo moderately resembles each other. I wonder if blokes @ AMG would be happy about Toyota’s move.

  • jekyl & hyde

    smart move by the toyta marketing department (tmd) now that they got subaru to snap them out of their cocoon and half make a car that the punters will enjoy driving.

    plenty of money to be made in adding brakes,braces,wheels and turbos’s

  • Pirate Post Office

    I have found the perfect song for the ad… “why don’t you get in my car…” from TMG (The Ted Mulray Band)

  • Sakdjfhlajdhfladfladf

    TMG…Could Toyota be any more original… even the two lines on the side of the letters in the logo look like they were ripped off AMG. 

  • Sakdjfhlajdhfladfladf

    Plus, didn’t they used to have something with the tag “G”? I remember, they launched a FT86 G-sport a few years back… at least it’s more original than TMG… 

  • Andrew Cowley

    You know the saying: Can’t polish a TuRD.

    Toyota stopped bothering about performance, as distinct from exterior stripes and white backed dials, over 20 years ago. Hope it works for them. But I can’t see why they wouldnt use Lexus as the means for this. The Lexus range has always been watered down. Fix Lexus first, make it a genuine performance brand, and then spread the love down to the wider Toyota brand.

  • UMWHAT

    But besides the 86 there are no Toyota vehicles really worth a sporty power and handling upgrades 

  • Jax

    TMG is so corny & unoriginal.
     Typical Japanese effort copying the Germans again…but did they have to make it so obvious ?
    Pathetic really.

  • Andrew

    I think if Toyota can use cars like the 86 as the foundation for TMG, then it will succeed, it can’t however rely on using any of it’s current FWD models.

    Just don’t follow every other car maker and provide 1 inch larger wheels, a spoiler, sports badge and call it a sports car….

  • Tomhardy23

    Why write anything here, you won’t change a thing, losers.

  • Yumm_1994

    go toyotaaaaa!!!