Akio Toyoda seems like a fun guy.
Few things are more satisfying than an automotive CEO trashing one of his company's products.
Ford's Jim Farley is a big fan of hooning, for example. He recently won the Historic Sports Car Racing Classic series in the 12 Hours of Sebring, and earlier in the year, he spanked a Mach E with seven electric motors.
But this week, Akio Toyoda proved that he's just as much fun. During a presentation of Toyota's new Yaris-based World Rally Championship (WRC) car, he couldn't resist getting into a GR Yaris to show his employees that he still has it. As you can see in the video below, the man still has it. At one point, he even sticks his arm out to get the audience to make some noise.
It seems Toyoda is making good on the promise he made when he took over Toyota. He said it would stop producing boring cars and promised to add some adrenaline to the mix.
That's why you can still buy a fun entry-level sports car like the GR86. It may not be a volume seller, but Toyoda knows its aspirational cars attract customers. They may end up buying a C-HR or a Corolla Cross, but it's cars like the GR86 and the GR Supra that get them on the dealer floor.
The range will soon be joined by the GR Corolla, and if the success of the GR Yaris is anything to go by, it's going to be a hit.
Toyota had a sensational WRC season in 2021. It took the constructor's and driver's trophies, making the all-new WRC car so important. The car does seem to be in good shape, having no problem pulling four-wheel drifts with Sebastien Ogier behind the wheel.
We wonder whether Toyota will be changing over to the GR Corolla at any point in the future? Racing has always been a great marketing tactic, used by Toyota, Mitsubishi, Subaru, BMW, and Mercedes.
Switching over to a GR Corolla would make a lot of sense since it will be the first proper Toyota hot hatch available in the US market for quite some time. And seeing it yumping over the finish line would help Toyota lure customers out of the Golf GTI.