A report out of Australia indicates that Toyota is looking at creating a performance version of the Corolla Hatchback, which would compete against the likes of the Honda Civic Type R and Volkswagen Golf R.
According to the report by carsales.com.au, Toyota’s Australian division is pushing the idea within the company. Having seen first-hand how successful Hyundai has been with its N division products, with sales largely surpassing expectations, executives there have recognized the enormous potential of developing performance editions.
The performance version of the Corolla Hatchback would be developed by Toyota’s GAZOO Racing division and carry the GR suffix (as would all future performance editions of Toyota models).
Which of course leads us to wonder, which models would get the GR treatment after the five-door Corolla?
All of this is still just speculation, of course, but the designer behind the Toyota 86 and Supra models, Tetsuya Tada, did confirm that the company is studying how best to launch the GR performance division, adding that “We have lots of requests from different countries, so it's really, really challenging to decide on the order [of performance models].”
If Toyota does go ahead with its plan for the Corolla Hatchback GR, we don’t know if the plan includes selling in on the North American market. Still, if the Japanese automaker does produce a worthy rival to the Civic Type R and the Golf R, it would be surprising if it doesn’t bring it into battle in our market.
We’ll be learning a lot more about Toyota’s intentions over the course of 2019. And the company’s decisions may be dictated in large part by the level of consumer interest in the Hyundai Veloster N, which is set to debut this year in North America.