Gazoo Performance Brand Grabs Hold Of Toyota’s New Supra Hybrid Sports Car
Long-awaited sports car will be sold under the banner of the newly created performance divisionby Kirby, on
There’s been plenty of talk surrounding the long-awaited return of the Toyota Supra. That’s to be expected for a car that a lot of people have been waiting for. But the return of the sports car isn’t just about a once-famous nameplate coming back to the spotlight; it’s also about looking into the future and what that future has in store in the evolution of the Supra name. It’s already been reported that the 2018 Supra will actually be a hybrid performance model. Now we’re told that the Supra won’t actually be sold under the Toyota brand, but will instead be the first car to be sold under Toyota’s newly launched Gazoo road performance division.
That bombshell comes from no less than Gazoo Racing chief Koei Saga, who told Autocar that the Supra would be one of the first of many performance models that will be sold under the Gazoo name. It’s still unclear if that shift will end up with the sports car carrying a different name altogether – Gazoo Supra and Toyota Supra Gazoo are two names being thrown around – but the important thing here is that Toyota’s now creating a separate performance arm that will include the Supra hybrid sports car.
For now, the Gazoo Supra (let’s call it that for the time being) will cede a lot of the attention to the three-door Gazoo Yaris hot hatchback, which technically counts as the first production model under the new Gazoo brand. The hot hatch is scheduled to make its debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show this coming March where it will showcase a lot of its wares, including a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that spits out more than 210 horsepower.
Once the Gazoo Yaris is introduced to the world, look for Toyota and Gazoo to turn their focus on putting the finishing touches on the Supra hybrid sports car as it prepares to make its own world debut in 2018, presumably with a different name that what we’ve been expecting.
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Name aside, the Supra will be remembered more for its performance
Now this one came straight out of left field. Were there even whispers about the Supra moving from Toyota to Gazoo to act as the face of the Gazoo’s high-performance lineup? Whether this was intentionally kept under wraps or not, the important thing is that the Supra will have a different monicker from its previous incarnations even though technically, it’s still a Toyota.
This leads to more important question: is Toyota doing the smart thing by bringing the Supra to Gazoo? I get it that it makes sense from the standpoint that the Supra is a performance model and if Toyota wants to create some legitimacy to its new Gazoo performance division, it’s going to need a model that will elevate the new brand. There’s no better model to do that than the Supra, which on its own has already established a cult following among fans who loved the old Supra models. Having the Supra serve as the backbone of the Gazoo division is a perfect way to get people to take the Japanese automaker’s new performance arm seriously from the start.
That said, is this move a good thing for the Supra itself, knowing that a lot of people know it as the Toyota Supra and not the Gazoo Supra or whatever name it’s going to end up having? I for one don’t find the same redeeming quality in seeing the model get christened as the Gazoo Supra or even the Toyota Supra Gazoo. The fact that the Supra will be packaged as a hybrid is different enough on its own; it feels even more different knowing that the “Gazoo” name is included in the model.
The good news is that neither Toyota nor Gazoo appear to have made any final decisions on how it’s going to brand the returning sports car. More importantly, the name, while important, shouldn’t end up costing the new Supra more compared to how it’s going to perform. That will ultimately determine how the returning sports car will be viewed, especially now that it’s packing a hybrid motor under its hood.
Let’s all hope then that whatever name it ends up getting, the Supra won’t disappoint in the one category that matters the most.
2019 Toyota Supra
Read our full review on the upcoming 2019 Toyota Supra here.