New Toyota Corolla GRMN hot hatch likely to join range

Toyota has confirmed more GRMN models are on the way, making the new Corolla a prime candidate for the hot hatch treatment

Toyota will expand its GRMN range to give the likes of the latest Toyota Corolla genuine performance models to sit alongside the GR Sport trim levels, Auto Express has learned. 

The latest GR Sport edition, the Corolla, made its public debut at Geneva, with styling add-ons but no modifications to the car’s hybrid powertrain. The first GR Sport model, the Yaris, received a lukewarm reception earlier this year for a similar approach, with only mild suspension tweaks but an unaltered hybrid configuration.

• Toyota Corolla GR Sport revealed at Geneva

Speaking at the Geneva show, Toyota Europe’s Executive Vice President, Sales, Matthew Harrison, told Auto Express that there are firm plans to back up Gazoo Racing’s halo models and motorsports activity with faster, more focused production cars. “There are really three tiers to the GR strategy,” Harrison said. “One is to have dedicated GR models, like the GR Supra that we’ve launched here [at Geneva]. It’s a halo product for the brand. This is the top tier.

“The second tier will be to take some targeted core models and have performance derivatives of those core models. Like the Yaris GRMN, where we have higher-performance output. These cars will be tuned for performance and driving pleasure. Of course these are going to be more limited in volume by definition, because of the more targeted audience, and we’ll probably only offer these in selected markets too – places like the UK, Germany, Switzerland and so forth.

“And then the third tier is GR Sport which is cosmetic, mainly. There might be some small tuning to the suspension – although there’s not with the Corolla, because the chassis doesn’t need it – but it’s about cosmetic enhancement and attracting more customers up from the mid-grade up to the higher-end sporty grade, really. It’s worked very well with F Sport at Lexus, because that has exceeded our original expectations on customer take-up.”

“We have three levels and all three are being worked on, and you will see new product in all of them.”

Harrison declined to name which cars could be next to get the GRMN treatment but he reiterated that it would be “core models” – which makes the big-selling Corolla the most likely option. He said, “What we’re really trying to do, of course, is to build a closer, easier-to-understand link between our cars in the showroom and what happens at Le Mans, or Dakar, or in the World Rally Championship. We need to bring the excitement and emotion that those successes are adding to the brand into our showrooms.”

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