It has been said before, but this time we hope we're joining Toyota in saying it again: the brand should build proper performance cars like it did over a decade ago. Apparently, at least one person at the Japanese automaker agrees. Auto Express recently spoke with Toyota Europe Executive Vice President Karl Schlicht, who said:
And there's evidence that the Japanese automaker is taking performance seriously. First there's the excellent Scion FR-S (known as the Toyota GT86 overseas), a joint-development with Subaru. And then there are other less-subtle projects and concepts like the Lexus LS Sports 650 shown above, a 650-horsepower super-sedan developed by Toyota Motorsport GmbH, and the more recent Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R, a 420-hp super capacitor-equipped hybrid hatchback, which also was developed by TMG. All of this leads us to ask two questions: is TMG gearing up to be Toyota's next official performance brand? Will it have a hand in the development of a successor to the revered but long-dead Supra?
"We are currently discussing sport lines for Toyota models. There is an appetite for Toyota to do credible performance cars."
We're not sure, but let's assume Toyota rules out another established sub-brand to produce performance cars, Toyota Racing Development. TRD has produced performance parts and accessories for awhile, and has even produced sport-oriented vehicles in some markets, but there's little evidence it will be part of a serious performance initiative at Toyota. There's something to be said about starting anew, and the less-known but more deeply involved TMG, Toyota's Germany-based motorsports partner, seems like it could be a better fit as a maker of "credible" Toyota performance cars.
We certainly hope that's the case, since the LS Sports 650 and Yaris Hybrid-R are two of the most exciting Toyotas we've seen in a while. We're holding our breath that this development turns out to be a global performance initiative, and not just a Europe-only forbidden fruit factory.