A Sporty Toyota GR Camry Might Be on the Way
Around this time last year, we reported that Toyota’s Gazoo Racing sub-brand was going to expand beyond Supra and 86. We speculated the Corolla Hatchback could get a GR variant, and a few months after that Toyota launched the GR Corolla. But Toyota is not done with its sports car brand. The automaker recently added a manual transmission option to the Supra and is focused on expanding the sub-brand. The next model up might be the Camry, which would compete well against the Kia K5 GT and the Hyundai Sonata N Line.
In an interview with MotorTrend, Bob Carter, executive vice president of sales at Toyota Motor Company, told us to “stay tuned” when asked about a sedan joining the GR lineup. While he didn’t elaborate, there’s space for it in the lineup—especially after he told us last year he didn’t see SUVs under the GR sub-brand in the short term. While our mind went to Camry, the sedan could also be a four-door version of the GR Corolla, which is rumored to be in development per reports out of Japan.
Cooper Ericksen, group vice president of product planning and strategy at Toyota, said the GT3 GR Concept, which was shown at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, is moving into development stage. While GR can also benefit from having a GT car in its lineup, sport sedans are more popular.
Toyota is also looking at electrification to help its performance brand. While Ericksen said nothing is imminent at this point, the Japanese automaker is looking at its future.
“Electrification coming to GR is something we’re talking about. In the long term, what is the best way to deliver what GR is and what does electrification have to do with that,” Ericksen said. “The key is fun to drive, lightweight, track performance, so if we can deliver that with an EV, we might look into that.”
Earlier this year, Toyota also revealed the bZ4X GR Sport Concept, which could be the first EV under the GR sub-brand. It would also be the first SUV under Toyota’s performance-oriented arm.
Ericksen also said Toyota is looking at other zero emissions options, as they are currently testing a GR Corolla with a hydrogen combustion engine, “which is basically a three-cylinder internal combustion engine with a few modifications so its running on hydrogen,” according to Ericksen.
When would we see the first electrified GR model, you may ask? “In five months? No. In five years? Quite possibly,” Carter said.
Ericksen also added that by 2030 Toyota plans to have between 80 and 90 percent of its global volume electrified. “So, do the math. At some point,” he said.
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