And there's a very obvious reason why.
Last year, Toyota told us it was going to make a stronger commitment towards building sporty cars for enthusiasts. So far, the new Camry with over 300 horsepower has been a reasonable sign of things to come, though we are still waiting for the new Supra to finally arrive.
What Toyota really needs is an injection of sporty models, like its lineup from Gazoo Racing. For those who do not know, Gazoo Racing is Toyota's sporty tuning division, which pumps out race cars, sporty version of road cars, and amazing concept cars like the S-FR racer and the TS050 Hybrid LMP1 car with 986 hp.
Gazoo Racing even builds an awesome supercharged version of the Yaris called the Yaris GRMN with over 200 hp. Of course, we don't get it in the US. The Yaris GRMN is exactly what we've been begging Toyota to builds for years, so why hasn't it come to the US market?
We asked Toyota why it hasn't offered any Gazoo Racing products in the US and Nancy Hubbell, Senior Manager of Toyota Product Communications, told us it mainly boils down to brand confusion.
"We do have TRD here in the US and we have a lot of equity with that brand for many of our models. Other global markets are aligning with GR as their performance brand. Going forward, we’ll evaluate if there is value for us to align with GR, but at this time, we don’t plan to introduce the existing GR products," she said.
So, while other markets enjoy sporty products like a supercharged Yaris, the US will have to make do with TRD (Toyota Racing Development) models like the Tacoma, Tundra, and 4Runner as well as the upcoming Camry and Avalon TRD that were teased before the LA Auto Show. We still know very little about the Camry and Avalon TRD, although we hope they pack some extra power and not just an appearance upgrade.
If the US does receive any Gazoo Racing-developed cars, they would likely be rebadged as TRD models. Hopefully, this will open up Toyota to offer more sporty TRD-badged cars in the US.