Toyota Aspires to Produce More Sports Cars but Needs Collaboration

The company intends to collaborate with other brands to co-develop new performance vehicles.

As much as enthusiasts would love to see a new MR2 or Celica, Toyota can’t justify the R&D investment for what would ultimately be a niche product. To share development costs and satisfy financial constraints, Toyota partnered with Subaru for the GR86/BRZ and with BMW for the Supra/Z4. The Japanese automaker is committed to producing more sports cars but acknowledges it can’t do so alone.

In a conversation with Australian media, Gazoo Racing President Tomoya Takahashi indicated that new exciting cars are in the works. However, Toyota’s calculations show the numbers don’t favor such projects. Takahashi told Cars Guide that “the sports car market is shrinking in the future. We cannot maintain sports cars as one brand, Toyota. Collaboration between brands will increase in the future.”

The company has yet to decide which automakers it will collaborate with. This suggests that a new sports car is unlikely to debut in the near future. However, this might not be entirely accurate. The Toyota GR GT3 race car prototype, recently seen at Spa-Francorchamps, is set to inspire a road-going Lexus version. This vehicle, potentially named “LFR,” is expected to feature a V-8 engine with twin turbochargers. It could be unveiled as early as next year.

Takahashi emphasized that the mission is “not for one manufacturer to survive, but to protect car enthusiasts.” Therefore, “we need to collaborate sometimes” to distribute costs and make sports car projects financially viable. In October 2023, Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda hinted at a possible Celica revival. However, even if this is in the works, the lack of spy shots indicates that a market launch is still several years away.

Before introducing another low-slung and somewhat impractical sports car, GR might take a different approach. Last month, Takahashi suggested the lineup needs a performance SUV to cater to families seeking more space. Regardless of the specific models, GR’s leadership aims to produce fun cars rather than just fast cars.

An all-Toyota sports car seems unlikely, aside from the GR GT3/LFR. It will be interesting to see if the world’s largest automaker will partner with Mazda, given their existing collaboration on preserving internal combustion engines and Toyota’s five-percent stake in Mazda. A joint effort wouldn’t be surprising.

With the next-generation MX-5 likely to be electrified to comply with stricter emissions regulations, Toyota’s expertise in hybrid technology could be valuable. Let’s not forget that Mazda previously built a Miata-based 124 Spider for Fiat, so they might be open to sharing costs again. This would be practical for Mazda, a relatively small company compared to the automotive giant Toyota.

While this is speculative, it’s encouraging that Toyota isn’t abandoning sports cars. The GR Yaris hot hatch recently received a mid-cycle update, and the Supra is set to get a hotter GRMN version with additional BMW power.


  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...

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