It’s safe to say that the new Toyota GR Yaris is the most highly anticipated hot hatch right now. Not only is it the first proper rally-bred homologation special in a generation, but it’s also the first in-house-developed Toyota sports car in over 20 years.
Now, a new video shows some of the build processes of the car, featuring several key personnel. Unlike the standard Yaris, which is built at the Iwate plant, the GR model is manufactured some 800 km away at the Motomachi factory on a dedicated production line. The project leader said that the separate production was necessary for the car to meet its high standards, adding that it delivers “racing car quality”.
Notably, the GR Yaris features increased use of structural glue, 11 metres longer than on other models; the addition of 200 extra welding points has further improved the bodyshell’s rigidity. Toyota has also worked to reduce weight in areas beyond the centre of gravity, adding lightweight components like a carbon fibre roof.
The video also mentions the G16E-GTS 1.6 litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, which produces 272 PS and 370 Nm of torque and is claimed to be a “race car engine” (it will be used in a future rally version of the car, so there’s some truth in that). For increased precision, the company marries the body and chassis on a surface plate and uses equipment that can measure the alignment without stressing the tyres.
Obviously, using such bespoke processes on a single car would be a waste of resources, so the production line – which uses autonomous vehicles to connect individual sections, rather than a conventional conveyor – is designed to handle multiple types of small-volume production. What this means is that the Motomachi plant is capable of building more than one GR model, and that opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
Toyota has already hinted at models that are on the horizon, with a hot version of the Corolla hatch being the most plausible. Such a car could utilise the Yaris’ running gear – including the trick all-wheel-drive system – to bring the fight to the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Focus ST and Hyundai i30 N. There are even rumours of the C-HR crossover getting the GR treatment, which should make for quite an interesting drive.
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