Toyota today announced a name change to their European research and development base in Cologne, Germany. Formerly the Toyota Motorsport GmbH, it will now be known officially as Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe GmbH.
But what’s in a name change?
Well for one it, reflects the history and ties between Germany and Japan with the roots of this company initially established in Cologne in 1979. It also showcases how much more involved Toyota has become involved with the Gazoo Racing Company in recent years with an increased focus on creating vehicles for the GR (Gazoo Racing) brand. A press release from Toyota explains the meaning and use of the word ‘Gazoo’ perfectly: “Today, “GAZOO” refers to the word “Garage”, a very intimate place where people work together to improve the smallest details, with the aim of delivering ever-better cars and services for each customer, in each garage. As such, the name embodies the spirit that drives TOYOTA GAZOO Racing.
But the origin of the name goes back nearly twenty years to the creation of GAZOO.com, a website gathering images of the vehicles on stock at each of the dealerships. Its name, “GAZOO”, was derived from the Japanese word “gazo” which means image or photo. Although the use of imagery on website is commonplace today, it was revolutionary for the automotive industry in Japan in the mid-1990s when internet technology was at its infancy. GAZOO.com offered consumers a wide choice of products, allowing them to find the best deal available, and this is where the philosophy of providing ever-better cars to the Toyota customer originates.”
The chairman of Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe, Hisatake Murata, states the following about the name change: “This is another significant step in the history of our company . . . the Cologne facility has become ever more integrated into Gazoo Racing Company’s research and development programmes. So it is logical that, as a valued member of the Gazoo Racing Company, the company’s name should adapt to reflect the strengthening link between Cologne and Japan.”
With this, the new name becomes fitting as it both reflects the future direction of the research and development base while also paying homage to the origins of the brand too – still keeping its commitment and connotations consistent and intact to this day.
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