Akio Toyoda steps down as Toyota CEO – Here are some of his ‘greatest hits’

Toyota CEO and grandson of the company’s founder, Akio Toyoda will step down as CEO of the company on 1 April to make way for Koji Sato, his successor who is currently the president of Lexus and Gazoo Racing. Starting April this year, Akio Toyoda will become chairman of the board of directors of the company.

Mr. Toyoda has served as CEO for almost 14 years and during his tenure, unleashed several memorable icons. While he isn’t entirely stepping away from the company, let us have a look at some of the iconic cars that emerged when he was the big man.

Toyota GT86 & GR86

Possibly the best starter car for motorsport enthusiasts, the first-generation Toyota GT86 made its world debut in 2012 and underpinned both the Subaru BR-Z and Scion FR-S. It was an affordable rear-wheel-drive modern car that was also available with a 6-speed manual transmission.

Power wasn’t exactly the GT86’s strongest suite as the FA-20 boxer engine only made 207 hp (metric) @7,000 rpm and 212 Nm @ 6,400- 6,800 rpm. However, it is one of the best cars out there if you want to learn about car control and is an alternative to the Mazda MX-5.

In April last year, the all-new Toyota GR86 made its world debut and will soon be officially available in Malaysia, if UMW Toyota follows through with its announcement from last year. The all-new GR86 makes 235 hp (metric) and 250 Nm.

RELATED: Toyota confirms GR Corolla, GR86, Manual Supra to launch in Malaysia “very soon”

Toyota GR Supra

Besides the 86, Toyota also revived its flagship icon, the Toyota Supra, now in its fifth generation. Already an icon itself, movies from “The Fast and the Furious” franchise cemented the fourth generation supra as one of the most popular cars among young car enthusiasts back in the day.

The revival of the Supra happened almost 20 years after the fourth generation ended, and continues to be an icon for car enthusiasts despite the flak that it received due to its BMW association. In its most powerful form, 5th-gen Supra is powered by a 3.0-litre inline-6 turbocharged engine that makes 340 hp (metric) and 500 Nm. Only available with an eight-speed automatic transmission upon its world debut, a 6-speed manual version was introduced in April 2022, and that will soon be officially available in Malaysia.

RELATED: Enthusiasts rejoice – 2022 Toyota GR Supra now offered with six-speed manual

Toyota GR Corolla

Also joining the manual GR Supra and all-new GR86 in their Malaysian debut is the Toyota GR Corolla. Powered by a beefed-up GR Yaris-sourced G16E-GTS engine, the GR Corolla makes 304 hp (metric) and 370 Nm.

Power is sent to all wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission. The GR Corolla made its ASEAN debut in December last year with Thailand being the first country to welcome it. Only 9 units are available in Thailand (for now), and production of the GR Corolla for the global market this year is limited to 2,000 units only.

RELATED: Limited-edition Toyota GR Corolla ‘Morizon Edition’ could be more exclusive than the GR Yaris!

Toyota GR Yaris

Who would have thought that a Toyota Yaris could be a poster car for car enthusiasts? Usually remembered as a docile compact hatchback, the GR division developed the GR Yaris as a rally car first, before actually turning it into a production car.

Powered by a 3-cylinder 1.5-litre turbocharged engine, the tiny GR Yaris capable of producing 261 hp (metric) and 360 Nm. Paired with a 6-speed manual transmission, it has a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 5.5 seconds and a limited top speed of 230 km/h.

RELATED: Toyota GR Yaris gets Kinto factory tune in Japan, extra 20 Nm of torque and personalised performance!

One must also remember that part of Toyota is the Lexus brand, which is its luxury division. Even here, Mr. Akio Toyoda has left some memorable icons. Some to name are the Lexus LFA and the Lexus LC 500.

Lexus LFA

When it debuted in 2011, the Lexus LFA was the spiritual successor to the Supra and was one of the most expensive Japanese road cars ever built. While it was too expensive and didn’t quite succeed as a halo car, the V10-powered LFA is iconic for the simple fact that it is Lexus’ only supercar made to date.

ALSO WATCH: Chase away those Monday Blues with ‘a ride’ in a screaming Lexus LFA V10!

Lexus LC 500

A 5.0-litre V8 engine and a RWD drivetrain is something you’d expect to find in an American muscle car, not a luxurious Japanese grand tourer. However, that is what the Lexus LC 500 is. The naturally aspirated V8 engine makes 470 hp and 540 Nm and is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. This launches the LC500 from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.7 seconds. Fetching a RM 1.37 million starting price in Malaysia, the LC 500 is available as both a coupe and a convertible. Coincidentally, the Lexus LC 500 is the brainchild of Koji Sato, making it the perfect car to end the list, signifying the passing of the baton from Akio Toyoda.

ALSO WATCH: Lexus LC 500 Convertible, 5 Things

While some car companies have committed to an electric-only future, Toyota under the leadership of Akio Toyoda believes in multipath solution towards sustainability. Hence, the company has been working on electric cars, hydrogen fuel cell cars, and hydrogen-fueled engines. It remains to be seen if the stance will remain under the new leadership.


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