Toyota tweeted out that an upcoming video game won’t have a single Toyota in it due to its portrayal of illegal street racing.
Need for Speed Heat is coming out later this year for both PC and your favorite game console. It will feature a wide assortment of fast cars from all around the world, including Porsches, Lamborghinis, Hondas, Mustangs, Corvettes, and more, but conspicuously absent was any Toyota vehicles.
This is weird for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the new 2020 Toyota Supra being one of the hottest sports cars on the road right now. Toyota’s history is filled with great cars, including the 2000GT, the Mk IV Supra, the Celica, and the legendary AE86. So what gives?
pfft nerds— Need for Speed (@NeedforSpeed) August 20, 2019
When asked exactly that on Twitter, Toyota’s UK account responded, "You can find our cars in GT Sport, which doesn't promote illegal street racing."
Now there’s a certain irony to that statement. First, all those previously mentioned cars were at one point heavily associated with the underground racing scene. The original Fast and the Furious movie featured a bright orange Supra as one of the main cars, and it definitely took part in some illegal street racing.
It’s also just plain wrong. As pointed out by racing game enthusiast site GT Planet, various mobile racing games feature both Toyotas and street racing, and Toyotas have been featured in past games that definitely had a lot to do with street racing.
That original tweet has since been taken down and a much more believable message has taken its place. The actual reason why there are no Toyotas in Need for Speed Heat is because Toyota has an exclusive licensing deal with Gran Turismo, a competing racing franchise that bills itself as more of a racing simulator than an underground street racer.
About last night...— ToyotaUK (@ToyotaUK) August 21, 2019
While that limits Toyotas to only appear in a single game, it doesn’t appear to place limits on feature films. The new 2020 Supra will appear in the upcoming Fast & Furious 9 wearing the same paint as the original.