Toyota's growing performance department could turn its attention to the HiLux ute, with the company's Gazoo Racing Company to begin tuning other vehicles in the Japanese giant's line-up.
Speaking at the international launch of the all-new Supra in Spain, the first car developed ground-up by the Gazoo Racing Company, Toyota executives explained the performance division had grown from a marketing exercise to a fully fledged engineering division in the theme of BMW's M or Mercedes' AMG.
And having already turned its attention to the Supra and the pint-sized Yaris (with the international-only GRMN), it will now focus on the rest of the Toyota range.
"We cannot talk about future plans, but we can talk about intention. And our intention is of course to have more products and more derivatives, and this will be discussed car by car and model by model, based on whether it fits the purpose, and if there is a demand," says Toyota's senior manager of product communications, Vincent Dewaersegger.
"But of course there is the intention - that's why we created the company. But I can't really comment much more than that, because it will be revealed in the course of the product launches."
So does that mean we will see a Gazoo-stamped HiLux sometime soon?
"I hope so," Dewaersegger said. "But my words are for Europe, I don't know for Australia, as I don't know the details of Australia versus Europe. But as general company, the intention is to develop more cars and more models."
Toyota's GM of global communications, Jean-Yves Jault, added: "One of the things that happened when we started that company is that we shifted R&D resources to it. So it existed as a marketing activity in Japan, but now they have engineers, so they can decide what products to use for Gazoo Racing," added
The current range-topping HiLux engine is a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel generating 130kW/450Nm which lives inside the SR5, as well as the newly introduced Rugged X and Rogue models. But Toyota Australia has made no secret of the fact it is interested in a more performance-focused model, confirming on several occasions that a plan was "being studied".
But it seems the HiLux will need to get in line. Speaking with CarsGuide at the Supra event, that car's assistant chief engineer Masayuki Kai suggested the Toyota C-HR could be the next car on the Gazoo Racing Company hit list.
"With the Toyota New Global Architecture, there is many opportunities," he said, speaking through an interpreter. "And now we have the engineers to do it."
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