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Toyota Launches New Performance Sub-Brand, GR

The maker of so-called 'beige' cars is bringing performance back.

Toyota is a very conservative automaker. We’ve said that the brand is the purveyor of the beigemobile, but that’s not a bad thing if you consider your car to be an appliance. It’s important that we not forget Toyota’s deep roots in motorsports, as it continues to bring its name to the track time and time again. As a homage to its ongoing commitment to enthusiasts, Toyota announced a new performance sub-brand: GR.

This announcement doesn’t come as a surprise, as some have predicted the move based on Toyota’s actions over the last few months. The acronym might sound familiar to those who enjoy motorsports, as the brand scavenged the name from another existing division within Toyota, Gazoo Racing.

The approach to GR starts broadly, to customize the brand’s entire lineup and eventually tighten up to tailor very specific models from the factory with OEM performance parts. The company itself describes the divisional approach like a pyramid and will be pricing models from an entry-level $20,000 to just shy of $40,000 on the window sticker, depending on the trim and configuration.

via Gazoo Racing

GR Sport will be Toyota’s entry-level performance trim, which surprisingly extends to models like the Prius and even minivans. The GR trim undergoes a few more changes that might interest the kid at heart. Depending on the model, the GR trim may include a full aero bumper kit, sport-tuned suspension, structural brace, RAYS forged wheels, big brakes, a limited slip differential and bolstered Recaro seats. 

Lastly comes GRMN, Gazoo Racing Masters of Nürburgring, which will aptly receive a slightly more robust power plant, likely just through software tuning, though there’s no official word on what performance parts will be offered.

What isn’t mentioned above happens to be the bottom tier of the pyramid, GR Parts. Specifically because this is an extension of the GR brand that offers parts for ordinary drivers to customize their cars, likely similar to light changes or universal parts across the manufacturer’s lineup. 

Toyota said it will be rebranding all existing Area 86 garages and opening 39 “GR Garages.” Likely similar to the concept of its predecessor, the GR garage will continue to be an enthusiast-backed gathering place for the brand. Think of it like your local parts counter, but with a bunch of cool OEM+ parts.

Toyota has said that it plans to eventually bring the brand outside of the country, first to the European Union. This likely depend on the success of the brand in Japan, since no date has been even tentatively set for expansion. Surprisingly, there was no mention of the upcoming Toyota Supra included in the releases by Toyota or Gazoo.

Maybe this shows that Toyota isn’t so beige after all.