After dealing with the mediocre success of the Beast Wars and Beast Machines Transformers toys, both in Japan and the United States, Takara decided it was time to get back to their proverbial roots. In 2000 they created a new line of Cybertron (Japanese for "Autobot") Transformers based on real vehicles, calling them simply "Car Robots" (I'm sure it sounds much cooler in Japanese).
The initial lineup for the Cybertrons was impressive, containing many brand new toys:
- Fire Convoy, the latest version of Optimus Prime, he transforms from a large hook-and-ladder fire truck into a robot and mobile defense platform, which combined into the larger Super Fire Convoy
- God Magnus, the latest version of the large eighteen-wheel car carrier Ultra Magnus who combines with Super Fire Convoy to form God Fire Convoy
- Mach Alert, a medium Lamborghini Diablo police car
- Speed Breaker, a medium modified Dodge Viper sports car
- Wild Ride, a medium Mercedes M-Class SUV
- JRX, a gestalt made up of three bullet train engines/robots named J Four, J Five, and J Seven
- Build King, a gestalt made up of four construction vehicles named Build Boy (bulldozer), Build Hurricane (steam shovel), Build Typhoon (dump truck), and Build Cyclone (crane)
In addition, the Cybertron lineup included a few recolored versions of Machine Wars and "Generation One" toys:
- Brave Maximus, an extra-large recolored Fortress Maximus
- Indy Heat, a small recolored version of the Mirage Formula 1 race car
- Wrecker Hook, a small recolored version of the Hoist tow truck
- The Spy Changers, six recolored versions of the mini Go-Bots: Autofire, Wars, X-Car, Eagle Killer, Counter Arrow, and Ox
The Destronger (Decepticon/Predacon) villains, on the other hand, were almost entirely made up of recolored versions of older Transformers and Beast Wars toys:
- Gigatron, the only new villain, is a large "super changer" that changes into at least six forms, from the impressive (robot, two-headed dragon) to the not-so-impressive (bat, jet) to the downright excessive (an attack car, a giant flying hand)
- Gershark, a medium recolored Maximal Cybershark (shark)
- Gaskunk, a small recolored Stinkbomb (skunk) from the Beast Wars Transmetals 2 Maximal line
- Girdo, a small recolored Maximal Nightglider (flying squirrel)
- Gushar, a small recolored Maximal Spittor (frog)
- Black Convoy, a large recolored Transformers G2 Laser Optimus Prime tanker truck
- Baldigus, a recolored Bruticus gestalt with some retooled weapons so they could all be carried in gestalt mode
A cartoon series of the same name was created to introduce the new toys to the buying public, which primarily uses hand-drawn animation instead of the full CGI employed in the American Beast Wars series. In the cartoon, Gigatron and the other Destrongers appear in New York City with a plan to conquer Earth. Fire Convoy and the other Cybertrons, who have been co-existing with humans for years by disguising themselves as unintelligent vehicles for human use, retaliate to protect the humans. The cartoon is set in the present day with no connection or continuity to previous Transformers stories.
Hasbro sold all of the Car Robots toys, with only minor changes to the molds, in the United States in the second half of 2001 under the name "Transformers Robots in Disguise".