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Toyota Chairman's not-so-secret garage includes a Suzuki Jimny, which Morizo had to buy used

Hans · Jan 26, 2024 11:51 AM

Toyota Chairman's not-so-secret garage includes a Suzuki Jimny, which Morizo had to buy used 01

Now that Akio Toyoda is no longer the President and CEO of Toyota, he has a bit more freedom to live life as his alter ego Morizo, the regular guy who just loves cars, and hates talking business. Akio is still Chairman of Toyota, but executive decisions are now made by Koji Sato.

“Last year, I stepped down as president [of Toyota] and as chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

“At last, I think that I have been able to get back to being an ordinary guy who loves cars.

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“I had always dreamed of the day when I could be like this,” said Morizo at the Tokyo Auto Salon earlier this month.”

Toyota Chairman's not-so-secret garage includes a Suzuki Jimny, which Morizo had to buy used 01

No boring business talk, "Akio boring guy, Morizo fun" is the theme

Morizo is a fake name used by Akio Toyoda in 2007 to secretly race in the 24 Hours of Nurburgring, in a used Toyota Altezza bought with his own money. Anonymity was necessary then because the young Akio’s racing activities were not approved by the company, and since he is a scion of Toyota, there could be consequences if something bad happens, and the press picks up on it.

After rising to the top spot at Toyota, the Morizo pseudonym is no longer a secret, evolving along with Akio’s new role as Master Driver – a position that he still holds today. He is the only car company boss to actively race the cars his company sells, channeling feedback to his engineers to build “Ever better cars.”

Toyota Chairman's not-so-secret garage includes a Suzuki Jimny, which Morizo had to buy used 02

Morizo is Akio's racing pseudonym

When he is racing or is in the company of fellow car lovers, and not talking business, Akio Toyoda refers to himself as Morizo.

At the recently concluded Tokyo Auto Salon, Toyota GR Racing hosted a ‘Morizo Garage’ theme exhibition. The models displayed are Morizo’s personal cars (and one motorcycle), bought with his own money. It’s a rare glimpse into the Toyota Chairman’s personal car collection.

Despite his position in the company, customers come first, and he had to put his name on the waiting list at the dealer. However, he did joked that for cars that had a long waiting list, “I beg them to get just one for me, and force my way in. Let me abuse my privilege that much.”

Toyota Chairman's not-so-secret garage includes a Suzuki Jimny, which Morizo had to buy used 03

The highlight is the Toyota Century SUV GRMN, a one-of-a-kind custom model as Toyota no longer sells any model with the GRMN badge – which is short for Gazoo Racing: Masters of Nürburgring.

Morizo's personal Century SUV GRMN wears the license plate 2023, and comes fitted with an optional sliding door. As seen in the video below (13:23 mark, enable close captions for English subtitles).

Next is a car that he personally drives (the Century GRMN is often chauffeur driven), the Lexus LBX Morizo RR Concept, a tuned Lexus LBX that powered by the GR Yaris’s G16E-GTS engine and paired to a traffic-friendly 8-speed automatic transmission.

Toyota Chairman's not-so-secret garage includes a Suzuki Jimny, which Morizo had to buy used 04

Also displayed is his Toyota iQ GRMN and GR Corolla Morizo Custom. The latter is the Chairman’s personalized version of the GR Corolla Morizo Edition.

Toyota Chairman's not-so-secret garage includes a Suzuki Jimny, which Morizo had to buy used 05

iQ GRMN, limited to just 100 units

Up until now, everything is predictable – performance-focused Toyota cars.

And then there’s a blue Suzuki Jimny on the stage. Why is the Chairman of Toyota presenting his Suzuki Jimny?

Suzuki and Toyota are partners in the multi-brand CJPT commercial vehicles alliance, and Toyota owns about 5 percent of Suzuki.

Despite the partnership, customers come first and since the waiting list for a Suzuki Jimny was stretching into years, Morizo had to wait. He was also very particular about colour and options package.

Toyota Chairman's not-so-secret garage includes a Suzuki Jimny, which Morizo had to buy used 06

Spot the odd one out

Morizo said he called the President of Suzuki, not for priority treatment, but if Suzuki can allocate one car for him after they are done with the current generation model. “I asked him if I could just have one when they change over the models.” In the end, Morizo said he bought a used example.

Apart from cars, Morizo also owns a Yamaha Vino motorcycle.

Yamaha has a long history with Toyota, starting with the legendary Toyota 2000 GT, developing the Toyota Altezza’s Beams engine, and tuning the Lexus LF-A’s engine and exhaust acoustics.

Morizo’s car collection extends beyond just these cars. He also keeps an Anthracite Metallic A80 generation Toyota Supra in the US.

Toyota Chairman's not-so-secret garage includes a Suzuki Jimny, which Morizo had to buy used 07

Akio's personal A80 Supra kept in the US. Image: Patrick George/Jalopnik

He also has a Toyota Century sedan, with license plate number 1867, the birth year of Sakichi Toyoda, Akio’s great-grandfather and founder of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, the weaving machine company that laid the foundation for Toyota Motor. Like Morizo’s new Century SUV, the Century sedan also benefits from GRMN styling and tuning.

At the Fuji Motorsports Museum, two more of Morizo’s personal cars are kept there; the Toyota Altezza that he first raced as Morizo, the car that started Gazoo Racing; and a Subaru Impreza that he practiced rally driving in. It can be said that the creation of the four-wheel drive GR Yaris and GR Corolla are heavily influenced by Morizo’s experience with the Subaru Impreza.

Toyota Chairman's not-so-secret garage includes a Suzuki Jimny, which Morizo had to buy used 08

The 24 Hours of Nurburgring Toyota Altezza, bought used by Akio. Gazoo.com stickers behind refer to a used car listing website project of the young Akio Toyoda then. Image: OMSP Paul

Toyota Chairman's not-so-secret garage includes a Suzuki Jimny, which Morizo had to buy used 09

Also read: Think the Toyota GR Corolla is too similar to an Impreza WRX? It's because President Toyoda has a Subaru

Hans

Head of Content

Over 15 years of experience in automotive, from product planning, to market research, to print and digital media. Garages a 6-cylinder manual RWD but buses to work.

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