Toyota's Gazoo Racing performance division will focus first on sports cars and passenger cars before turning its attention to SUVs, the Japanese brand's US sales boss claims.
In an interview with American magazine MotorTrend, Toyota North America executive vice president of sales Bob Carter outlined that the brand's Gazoo Racing performance arm would prioritise the development of sports cars and passenger cars, rather than rush to build a range of high-profit, high-riding performance SUVs.
"I don't want to eliminate anything, but initially no. The importance is exhilarating driving. When you go to SUVs you have higher center of gravities and it's just not conducive. Nothing is off the table, but initially you can expect it to be a car-based vehicle. There's still a market for that."
Carter's confirmation applies only to the fully-fledged GR performance range – including cars like the GR 86, GR Supra and GR Yaris – given Toyota has already dipped its toe in performance SUV waters with the sport-themed C-HR and LandCruiser GR Sport, which limit upgrades to unique styling, new wheels and tyres, and suspension tweaks – but no more power.
It also contradicts reports from multiple global publications suggesting a high-performance GR C-HR will arrive within the next two years, featuring the same 200kW 1.6-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine and selectable all-wheel drive system as the GR Yaris.
While a range of SUVs might not be in Gazoo Racing's short- to medium-term plans, several GR passenger and sports cars are in the works – and Carter has confirmed the first new model will break cover within 12 months.
"We have some Supra news coming, we have 86 news coming, but we have other models also coming. Come see me in a year from now," said the executive.
While the identity of the upcoming model wasn't confirmed, it's widely speculated to be the hotly-anticipated Toyota GR Corolla hot hatch, the Japanese brand's three-cylinder, 221kW, all-wheel drive rival for the Volkswagen Golf R, Hyundai i30 N and other mass-market small hot hatches.
The 12-month timing aligns with reports from Japanese publications including Best Car, which indicate the hot Corolla will break cover in the northern summer of 2022 (June to August inclusive). Click here to read everything we know so far about the new Toyota GR Corolla.
MotorTrend speculates on a potential GR version of the mid-size Camry sedan, though with slowing sedan sales around the globe, and the current-generation model set to reach the end of its lifecycle by 2024 or 2025, it's unlikely such a model would come to fruition.
Also set to join the GR portfolio in the coming years is the GR Super Sport hypercar built to race in the World Endurance Championship's hypercar series, with rumours also swirling around a off-road-focused GR HiLux performance ute, powered by the new LandCruiser's 227kW/700Nm twin-turbo diesel V6.