Contacted Suzuki President for Used Car After Struggling to Find a New One
If car aficionados were given the chance to establish their own nation, Akio Toyoda would undoubtedly receive a unanimous vote as its leader. The ex-chief executive of Toyota has played a pivotal role in the development of numerous exciting vehicles under the Gazoo Racing brand. Despite having been a part of the company from its inception, the grandson of its founder also has a passion for cars from other manufacturers.
Picture the chaos he caused at the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon, where Toyota’s exhibit featured a Suzuki. And not just any Suzuki, but the beloved Jimny of the online community. This was one of the five automobiles present at the Morizo Garage, which made an appearance at the event in Japan’s bustling capital earlier this month. For those who are unfamiliar with the moniker “Morizo,” it is the alter ego of Akio Toyoda when he is behind the wheel of a racing car. In its Toyota Times magazine, Toyota offers a detailed explanation of the origins of this name.
Despite the chairman’s affection for the Jimny, a rebadged version is not in the works. According to reports, Toyota expressed interest in offering its own variant of the popular off-road vehicle, but Suzuki declined. The decision was driven by Suzuki’s belief that the Jimny is a fundamental part of its identity, with a company executive stating, “It’s equivalent to asking Toyota to allow us to rebadge the Land Cruiser.” This statement was made in an interview with Autocar India.
The business alliance between Toyota and Suzuki that began in 2017 has resulted in collaboration on several ventures, aimed at reducing costs. As a testament to their partnership, Toyota holds a 4.9% ownership in Suzuki, thanks to a mutual agreement which granted Suzuki a 0.2% stake in Toyota.
The Jimny shared the spotlight with a customized GR Corolla and the little-known iQ GRMN at the event. This model was exclusively available in Japan, with a limited production run of 100 units in 2009. A few years later, the iQ GRMN Supercharged made its debut, featuring a supercharger that boosted the power of its 1.33-liter engine by 27 horsepower and 41 pound-feet (56 Nm), resulting in an impressive output of 120 horsepower and 128 pound-feet (174 Nm).
Unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon, the Lexus LBX Morizo RR Concept marked a significant departure from traditional Toyota engines, being the first to feature the turbocharged three-cylinder engine found in the GR Yaris and GR Corolla. With a displacement of 1.6 liters, this powerhouse produces an impressive output of 300 horsepower and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm), which is transmitted to the road through Toyota’s cutting-edge eight-speed automatic transmission, also used in the upcoming 2024 GR Yaris model. While the concept car is currently a unique creation, it serves as evidence of Akio Toyoda’s enthusiasm for high-performance SUVs.
On a related note, the Morizo Garage recently featured a fascinating SUV GRMN version of the Century with electrically-operated rear doors resembling those of a minivan. This high-end Toyota SUV has undergone a sporty transformation, with a bolder exterior and the use of carbon fiber. It remains uncertain whether Toyota plans to make this model available for purchase. As a reminder, Akio Toyoda took to the racetrack a couple of years ago in a GRMN version of the Century sedan.
In addition to the aforementioned five vehicles, the Jimny was not the only offering from outside the Toyota/Lexus conglomerate. One notable example is the Yamaha Vino scooter. Akio shared that he had originally desired a Vespa, but due to their high cost, he opted for a secondhand Vino with worn tires and a damaged mudguard. However, upon arriving to collect his purchase, the dealer had surprisingly upgraded it to a brand new model.
The chairman of Toyota has revealed that he personally purchased all of his cars from dealerships, just like any regular person, and did not expect any special treatment from the salespeople. However, he has since confessed that he used his influential role in the company to jump ahead in line and purchase the exclusive GRMN models.
When Akio was inquired about the number of cars under his possession, he admitted to having a handful of them. He had never actually bothered counting them, but he did mention owning some exclusive GRMN models among them.
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