As it turns out, Toyota's performance divisions can co-exist stateside.
For 40 years, Toyota Racing Development or TRD has been Toyota's performance division. It's the company to go to in case you want to add some pizzazz to your Toyota. Think Tacoma, 4Runner, and Tacoma – all having TRD-branded off-road variants that look a lot better than your run-off-the-mill Japanese vehicle. That goes the same for the Camry and Avalon – both large sedans that have sporty alter ego, all thanks to TRD.
But TRD's reign as Toyota's sole performance sub-brand ended in 2017 with the conception of Gazoo Racing or GR. It didn't help that GR attached itself to the Supra, and most recently, the uber snazzy 257-hp, all-wheel-drive GR Yaris (gallery below).
Gallery: 2020 Toyota GR Yaris
All of a sudden, it's as if the TRD stepped down as the favorite child, but Toyota's group vice president of marketing, Ed Laukes, thinks that both performance sub-brands could co-exist in the U.S.
In an interview through Automobile Magazine, Laukes said that there is plenty of room for both TRD and GR stateside.
"In the end, TRD and GR can coexist. TRD has a long lineage with the trucks that we sell . . . and the American consumer likes the TRD brand and it has some strong heritage in North America," Lakes added.
But will their coexistence confuse the buyers? It shouldn't as there are very clear differences between GR and TRD.
While TRD are more refined and improved existing Toyota vehicles, GR models are bespoke and a whole lot of different from normal Toyotas. In a nutshell, GR models are totally different machines (GR Yaris versus a normal Yaris hatchback), or in the case of the GR Supra, a sole performance deviation in the lineup.