The Toyota GR Yaris is one of the our favorite not-for-America cars. Its tidy dimensions, fiery turbocharged three-cylinder, and fully selectable all-wheel-drive bias make it an incredibly desirable road-going rally car. Mainly, because that’s what it is, created as a homologation special for Toyota’s upcoming World Rally Championship car. And now, we’re getting a look inside the factory that made it possible.
The new video from Toyota U.K. is fascinating, not only because of its insights on the GR Yaris but because of its implications. The new line set up to produce the 25,000 units of the GR Yaris is apparently “capable of handling multi-type, small-volume production, without compromising productivity.” The operative word there is multi-type, which suggests that the “line dedicated to manufacturing GR sports cars” will be used for more models than just the Yaris.
This is further evidence that a GR Corolla is on the way and, hopefully, destined for the U.S. The company has said that it is “exploring interest” in the idea and the GR Yaris already has some Corolla components in the rear end. Plus, considering the project was partially undertaken to show that Toyota could build an exciting car without a partner like BMW or Subaru, it’d make sense to have a Toyota-bred hot hatch available in the company’s largest market.
Based on this video, too, they likely won’t phone it in. The production process for the GR Yaris is substantially changed from the standard hatchback, with extensive usage of lightweight materials, wider body structure, more structural glue, and hundreds more spot welds to increase the stiffness of the little car. The goal was to make something strong and stout enough to race directly from the factory, which is why the GR Yaris is built with so many manual processes done by specialists. The result is a production-car line capable of “racing-car quality,” Toyota says.
Here’s to hoping it doesn’t stop with the Yaris.
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