Section 6. New Growth Goal
Item 3. Product Appeal Enhancement
Launch of Sports Models
Under the slogan "Let's make better cars!", the Sports Vehicle Management Division was established in January 2010. The goal was to consolidate and develop all initiatives related to sport racing in order to sustain and solidly establish activities that convey the joy, happiness, and excitement of cars. GAZOO Racing had already been working on these activities, under the theme of "the joy of owning, driving and talking about cars". The division has been promoting the planning and development of sports models, as well as events designed to expand the car enthusiast base.
TMC has also been developing sports-conversion models, such as the GRMN and G Sports (aka G's), based on mass-production models. As the first step, TMC added new G's series vehicles to the Voxy and Noah lines and introduced them to the market in June 2010. The two trim levels made available in each model were offered at affordable prices to encourage a broad range of customers to experience "automotive seasoning". By March 2012, Vitz and Prius models were also added to the G's series.
In February 2012, TMC announced its long-awaited "86" compact rear-wheel drive sports car-which had been in joint development with Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd. since 2007-and launched the vehicle in April. The 2.0-liter engine, which merged Fuji Heavy Industries' horizontally opposed engine with Toyota's direct injection technology, provided a maximum output of 200 horsepower while simultaneously achieving fuel efficiency of 13.4 km/L under the JC08 test cycle, through steps such as weight reduction. Under the concepts of intuitive handling and driving enjoyment, the 86 was completed as a sports car that allows the driver to experience the pleasure inherent in automobiles.
In conjunction with the launch of the 86, TMC set up "Area 86" shops (283 locations) at dealers throughout Japan, where 500 professional staff members provide expert advice and services, under the concept of "providing a place where adult sports car enthusiasts can gather". Aiming to make the 86 a sports car that evolves in synch with customers, TMC stocks the Area 86 shops with specialized parts to allow 86 owners to customize their vehicles.
In the area of motor sports activities, TMC decided to reenter the 24 Hours of Le Mans after a 13-year hiatus with a racing hybrid vehicle beginning with the 2012 season. The Le Mans will be held as part of the World Endurance Championship Series by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile from the 2012 season, and TMC plans to enter several of the series races in addition to the Le Mans.