Toyota 86 chief engineer pushing for a performance division

Chief engineer of the Toyota 86 Tetsuya Tada is gunning for a performance division within his company, in the same vein as Mercedes’s AMG or BMW’s M division.

“I would like to build that major sports car brand within Toyota, like BMW’s M,” Tada told Australia’s CarAdvice at an 86 owner’s festival — the same venue where the 86 Shooting Brake was revealed.

It’s not that as if Toyota doesn’t have existing divisions that could work. TRD was once a sport and performance division with its roots dating back to the 1950s, but in recent years it’s been less focused sports car and more on trucks and off-road vehicles.

Another option is Gazoo Racing, a Japan-based motorsports subsidiary founded by Toyota as a separate entity. It builds Toyota’s 86 and Lexus LFA endurance racers. “That’s one candidate,” Tada remarked. “BMW and M and Audi and quattro GmbH used to be like the Toyota relationship with Gazoo – it wasn’t really one body, it was two separate things. But because of the time and the continuous effort, now they are together,” he added. “So, I’m wishing that Toyota puts effort continuously, and then someday later, Toyota and Gazoo will be one body.”

The concept would not be without precedent in Japan, either. Toyota’s domestic rivals rivals are also moving in this direction. Nissan has NISMO, Subaru has STI, Mazda has Mazdaspeed, and Honda has Mugen.

Tada is championing this effort by rallying other Toyota employees to his cause: “The important thing is to keep putting in the effort and continue – never give up.