Interview

The New Supra May Not Be A Toyota Model After All

How does "Gazoo Supra" or "Supra Gazoo" sound to you?

A few months back Autocar broke a story about how Toyota was planning to launch an in-house performance division. This news came from Koei Saga, the head of Gazoo Racing and Toyota’s powertrain efforts. Autocar caught up with Saga at the recent WRC event in Monte Carlo, and once again the topic of a Gazoo-branded performance line of cars came up. He told Autocar that a hybrid halo road car was a “dream” of his, then mentioned that Gazoo was already implementing Toyota’s hybrid racing tech in road car designs.

This naturally led Autocar to assume that the revived Supra would be the halo car Gazoo’s head honcho was alluding to. Note that Koei Saga didn’t say this himself or even hint at it. Autocar is taking a bit of a leap here, but the pieces fit. There have been a ton of reports that the new Supra will go hybrid. Toyota is also clearly interested in a range of hopped-up models, as indicated by the impending launch of a three-door Yaris hot hatch. Selling all these cars under the Toyota banner would be tough as the company is known for sensible and economical cars. After the whole Scion fiasco it would be impossible to imagine the automaker spawning a separate company just to sell go-fast cars. That leaves a sub-brand as the most realistic option.

Or does it? We see a few issues with this route. For starters, the vast majority of people in the US have no idea what Gazoo Racing is or how it’s affiliated with Toyota. Also, there was a time not long ago where Toyota sold sports cars under its own name and did just fine. Remember the original Supra, MR2 and Celica? As our latest batch of spy shots show, the new Supra is just about finished baking, which means Toyota would need to roll out Gazoo—or whatever the hell it dubs the division—in conjunction with the Yaris hot hatch’s launch. The speedy Yaris will debut in Geneva, potentially with “Gazoo” attached to its name. If that happens then the Supra is a lock to lead the new sub-brand going forward.

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