Toyota Chairman involved in crash and flip of a GR Yaris

Akio Toyoda is a well-known enthusiast for performance vehicles, with a hands-on approach to driving and testing cars. As the former president and CEO of Toyota, he has actively participated in racing events under the pseudonym “Morizo.” Currently serving as the chairman of the company, Toyoda is still highly involved in the automotive world.

Toyoda’s Crash Incident

In December 2023, Akio Toyoda was driving a rally version of the GR Yaris on the Shimoyama course in Japan when the vehicle crashed. The incident took place at the Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama, which became fully operational in April 2024. With the inside of the facility resembling a Nürburgring pit lane, it is clear that this is a serious testing ground for Toyota’s vehicles.

Post-Crash Details

Onboard footage released after the crash showed the moment when the GR Yaris hit a mound and overturned. Toyoda was accompanied by nine-time Japan rally champion Norihiko Katsuta. Both individuals managed to escape the wreckage without any injuries, despite the car ending up with its wheels facing the sky. This incident was discussed during the R&D center’s inauguration ceremony.

Public Display of Damaged Car

As a demonstration of Toyota’s commitment to testing vehicles until they break, the heavily damaged GR Yaris was publicly displayed during the opening ceremony of the new facility. Typically, damaged cars are repaired and put through additional testing, but Toyoda made an exception in this case. This decision reflected the company’s dedication to quality and safety in its vehicles.

Toyoda’s Influence on GR Models

Akio Toyoda has played a significant role in the expansion of Toyota’s GR lineup, driving special models such as a one-off GRMN Century. Despite the rise of electric vehicles (EVs), Toyoda is a strong advocate for the development of internal combustion engines. He believes that EVs will never exceed a 30% market share and continues to support the production of gasoline-powered performance vehicles.

Share This Article