Toyota Boss Gives Company Designers More Freedom Than Ever

In early 2014 at the launch of the FT-1 Concept, Toyota president Akio Toyoda told the world that “no more boring cars” would be produced by the Japanese marque. Following the unveiling of the eighth-generation Camry, we’ve seen this manifested.

As part of Toyota’s ambitions to make its cars more exciting and pleasing to the eye, a product chief designer now works alongside the chief engineer in developing a new model. In years gone by, the Japanese marque scarified design for safety, lower costs and the pursuit of fuel efficiency but no more. During discussions with Automotive News, Toyota design veteran Ian Cartabiano said that Toyoda has made design a much more significant priority for the brand.

“It basically comes down to someone at the top saying, ‘We have to do this.’ And giving design a much stronger voice than ever before in this company. And now, because of Akio, design has a really strong voice.”

Cartabiano said that the new Camry actually started life out as a 2-inch sketch in a journal and from there, became a life-size representation of that model.

“We actually started with that 2-inch doodle. And it became sketch, bigger sketch, bigger sketch, model. But that original intention followed all the way through to the cars. It was totally new for us. There’s always been a designer, but the chief engineer has been the top guy. It was always just 100 percent engineering,” he said.

While Toyoda’s influence in shaping Toyota’s new design direction has been instrumental, technological improvements have also played a part in shaping the brand. For example, new metal-stamping innovations now make it much simpler to form strong, sharp creases across a vehicle’s exterior.

Compared to previous Toyota Camrys, it is impossible to deny that the new one is much more eye-catching.

Will this result in extra sales? Only time will tell.

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