Recently appointed Toyota CEO Koji Sato appears just as committed as his predecessor to the Gazoo Racing division.

    Sato-san even hinted to Autocar that Akio Toyoda, who is now the chairman of Toyota, will have more time on his hands to help develop cars for the division.

    “The Gazoo brand will be acknowledged for the future – and maybe we can even speed it up,” said Sato-san.

    “Our Master Driver was also president of the company at the same time as he had a steering wheel in his hand for Gazoo. Now he is only chairman maybe he will have a lot more time to develop cars for them?”

    Master Driver was one of Akio Toyoda’s titles at Toyota, where he served as president and CEO from 2009 to 2023.

    Koji Sato certainly has experience with sports cars, having headed both Lexus and Gazoo Racing before taking the top job.

    It’s unclear what’s next for the Gazoo Racing division. Toyota just launched the GR Corolla this year as a larger sibling to the GR Yaris, while the GR86 and GR Supra are the two other vehicles sold under the Gazoo Racing banner.

    Japanese outlet Best Car Web reports Toyoda-san remarked at an event in March, “I feel like I want [a car called Celica] again.”

    “I wonder if the new president Sato will take over that trend,” he added.

    Toyota teased an unnamed small electric sports car as one of a wide array of concepts late in 2021.

    Akio Toyoda has spoken in the past about wanting to revive both the Celica and MR2, having previously resurrected the Supra after a lengthy absence.

    With what appears to be seating for only two, the unnamed concept could be a spiritual successor to the old MR2.

    Overseas reports suggest Toyota is also weighing a GR-fettled version of the bZ4X electric SUV.

    Gazoo Racing isn’t the only automaker tuning arm set to take its first steps into the electric era.

    BMW’s M division is understood to be working on its first electric vehicle, while Hyundai’s N division is launching its first – the Ioniq 5 N – this year.

    As CEO, Toyoda-san pushed the automaker to be “fun to drive, again” and helped to push through a number of niche sports cars — like the 86 and Supra — that have small but enthusiastic fanbases, but are unlikely to be highly profitable for the company.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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