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Production under way for the new Toyota GR Yaris

Production of the GR Yaris performance hatch is under way at a brand-new Toyota Gazoo Racing facility in Japan.

The first car came off the line last week, bringing the hotly anticipated “homologation special” model another step closer to its arrival in the UK this autumn.

A return to sports car production gave Toyota engineers the opportunity to redesign the assembly process specifically for GR Yaris, a car that has been developed directly from the company’s championship-winning success at the top flight of international rallying. Toyota Gazoo Racing has established a new GR production centre dedicated to producing GR sports cars, within Toyota’s famous Motomachi factory.

The facility comprises a series of individual assembly cells, connected by automatic guided vehicles rather than the conveyors featured in conventional car plants. This method of working enables production of the highly rigid bodies sports cars require and assembly to a high degree of accuracy – qualities which are challenging to achieve on standard, high-volume lines.

True to its commitment to people development, Toyota Gazoo Racing has brought together highly skilled takumi technicians from throughout the company, team members who are renowned for their exceptional craftsmanship. They will contribute to the craftsmanship and technical skills training the GR factory will provide for workers at other Toyota facilities.

GR Yaris is a unique sports car, built on a new platform, powered by an all-new 1.6-litre three-cylinder turbo engine producing 257bhp and 360Nm of torque and equipped with a bespoke GR-Four all-wheel drive system developed directly from Toyota Gazoo Racing’s competition experience. As well as being powerful, it is lightweight, tipping the scales at just 1,280kg, helping deliver a 5.5-second nought to 62mph time.