Gazoo Racing boss says maybe it needs to do some sporty SUVs

If your goal is to sell more vehicles and everyone's buying an SUV and you don't have an SUV, then ... you're probably going to figure out how to make an SUV. Toyota go-fast brand Gazoo Racing is the next global player to confess it's time to consider a family hauler. So far, the GR moniker has been restricted to cars: the GR86, GR Corolla, GR Supra and GR Yaris. GR chief Tomoya Takahashi told Australian outlet Drive that "To expand the GR brand, maybe [SUVs] are needed as well." It sounds like Takahashi might still be pained by the thought, especially after the Takahashi statement and Drive note, "'In the future, my individual point of view, we need a GR SUV,' Mr. Takahashi said, before emphasizing 'in the future.'" It's as if he's blessing an SUV for his successor but has no intention of making use of that blessing.

Gazoo is halfway there, frankly, in other markets. It uses the GR Sport moniker on some Toyota trucks and SUVs like the European-market Hilux and RAV4 and the Australian C-HR. The RAV4 GR Sport (pictured), for instance, gets a cosmetic makeover, being tweaks to the front fascia, special colors, subtle badging and a set of 19-inch GR Sport wheels.

There's no reason the approach couldn't work in the U.S. if the automaker's willing to stick it out. Takahashi said GR's "limited resources" demand being strict about focus, breaking through perception here would need a focus of its own. Hyundai did up a Kona N, the little guy didn't fly with buyers, and that was after a number of excellent N cars plus an enormous global spend on the N brand. We think GR might do better attacking the truck side first; a limited-edition version of a GR Tacoma, either a pure street truck or a racy old-school Ivan "Ironman" Stewart desert racer (without stepping on TRD toes, or with TRD), could test the waters.

Meanwhile, what's expected next from GR isn't anything for families, but a GRMN Supra rumored to house an engine from BMW'S M division and to go on sale next year.

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