As much as enthusiasts would love a new MR2 and/or a Celica, Toyota can’t justify spending the R&D money on what would ultimately be a niche product. It partnered with Subaru for the GR86/BRZ and with BMW for the Supra/Z4 to share development costs and make bean counters happy. The Japanese brand is determined to pump out more sports cars but admits it can’t ride solo on this endeavor.

Speaking with Australian media, Gazoo Racing President Tomoya Takahashi said new fun cars are on the radar. However, Toyota has crunched the numbers and the math doesn’t work out in its favor. The GR boss told Cars Guide that “the sports car market is shrinking in the future. We cannot maintain sports cars as one brand, Toyota. Collaboration between brands will increase in the future.”

It hasn’t made up its mind with which other automakers it’ll join forces. This tells us a new sports car is unlikely to be launched in the coming years. However, that’s not necessarily true since the Toyota GR GT3 race car prototype spotted late last month at Spa-Francorchamps will spawn a road-going Lexus version. It could go by the “LFR” name and pack a V-8 engine, supposedly with a pair of turbochargers thrown in for good measure. Expect to see it as early as next year.

Takahashi went on to say the mission is “not for one manufacturer to survive, but to protect car enthusiasts.” That’s why “we need to collaborate sometimes” to spread out costs and make a sports car project financially feasible. In October 2023, Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda hinted at a Celica reboot. However, even if it’s happening, the absence of spy shots suggests a market launch is several years away.

Before launching another low-slung and fairly impractical car, GR might do the exact opposite. Last month, Takahashi argued that a performance SUV is needed in the lineup for families who want more space. Whatever the case may be, GR’s top brass said the goal is to roll out fun cars instead of just fast cars.

It looks as though an all-Toyota sports car is out of the question, save for the GR GT3/LFR. It’ll be interesting to see whether the world’s largest automaker will join forces with Mazda since the two are already collaborating on trying to save internal combustion engines. Toyota also has a five-percent share in Mazda, so a joint effort wouldn’t be such a surprise.

With the MX-5 likely to be electrified for its next generation to meet stricter emissions regulations, Toyota’s hybrid know-how might come in handy. Lest we forget Mazda built a Miata-based 124 Spider for Fiat, so the Zoom-Zoom company could be interested in sharing costs once again. That would make sense considering Mazda is a small company, especially when compared to an automotive juggernaut such as Toyota.

Of course, this is all speculation on our part, but we’re glad Toyota isn’t giving up on making sports cars. The GR Yaris hot hatch just went through a mid-cycle update and the Supra is about to spawn a hotter GRMN derivative with extra BMW power.

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Last Update: June 17, 2024

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