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TMG to harden up Toyota passenger vehicles

Posted on 17 July 2012

Toyota is getting serious about its performance road vehicles. German based Toyota Motorsports Division GmbH (TMG) is set on becoming a facility the likes of what AMG is to Mercedes-Benz. Yoshiaki Kinoshita, president of TMG, has said “After we stopped Formula One (involvement) we decided several things. One of these things is to become an AMG-type company; we are now trying (to make it happen). How feasible (it will be) I don’t know. But we are in a very good position.

The TMG facility itself drips of highly priced, state of the art services including state-of-the-art wind tunnel testing (currently used by numerous Formula 1 teams), gearbox durability testing and much more. What it doesn’t offer however is the creation of high performance engines, as this will continue to be handled in Toyota’s homeland, Japan.

So what’s the plan for the local performance passenger vehicle market? Kinoshita would not confirm which Toyota or Lexus models would get the TMG treatment in the future but the company has confirmed that it is working on a Lexus LS460 with a twin-turbo 4.6-litre V8 with around 650bhp. Now we see the resemblance to AMG.

Pascal Vasselon, Technical Director at TMG said, “It’s quite logical when you are a racing company to help your whole division to produce ultimately more exciting cars. Considering that we at TMG didn’t want to rely just on Motorsport, but on several pillars.” He has further explained how LS460 project is more than a cosmetic enhancement and said “Basically the car is … every single part is reworked – we start from the body shell and then (it's) heavily transformed.”

Could TMG create the hard-core vehicle offering and become a serious motorsport arm of the global giant Toyota? Australian customers were not sold on Toyota Australia’s last attempt in generating some buzz around Toyota vehicles, with the introduction of TRD (Toyota Racing Developments) in 2007. Under 1000 customers opted for the ‘high performance’ variants of the Aurion and HiLux before TRD was abandoned 16 months after its inception, with the global economic crisis being the excuse of Toyota Australia for TRD’s poor performance.

TMG is looking to become a very positive and exciting element to the Toyota brand and its current and future vehicle offerings. Its huge potential through assisted development with F1, Le-mans and WRC should signify the substantial possibility of vehicles very likely to be destined for Australian shores. Now with the recently launched Toyota 86 and its strong focus on performance and handling, we have the opportunity to see what would be a truly remarkable vehicle in a TMG Toyota 86, a German tuned, Japanese powered track monster!

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