A younger generation disenfranchised with the automobile is a very real and troubling issue with the automobile industry in Japan. Marketers, designers and engineers are trying hard to cater to this demographic, looking for anything that will resonate with generation Y and Z.
As we walked through the halls of the Tokyo show floor today, we caught up with Tokuo Fukuichi, Toyota’s new Chief of Design, who has been head of design at the Japanese company since January this year. Like many others in the industry, he is seeking new ways to inject desirability in his products to cater to this generation, and he spoke to us candidly and openly about this issue and others – you can catch a brief snippet of this interaction in the video here.
We’ll be publishing a full interview with the designer on Car Design News in the near future.
Contrary the poorly lit stand of parent company Toyota, Daihatsu has one of of the best displays at the Tokyo show this year.
The company’s inviting layout, airy exhibition space and friendly staff was a stark contrast to some of the other exhibitions, many of which had showcars set high on an exhibition stand making it difficult to access. Daihatsu also has a viewing platform up above the exhibit with fun, interactive displays.
The fact that the automaker also had one of the most appealing concepts on display – in the form of the monovolume FC showcase – was icing on the cake.
The Honda exhibition wasn’t the only show stand with dim lighting – we found the same to be true at cross town rival Toyota.
With the company’s push toward environmental efficiency in the form of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, it may appear to some that Toyota is also trying to do its bit to conserve energy on its stand. Both the Toyota and Lexus stands were both so sparsely lit that it prompted one designer to ask me if I thought it had been done on purpose…
Unfortunately I can only speculate as to the answer to that question. So Toyota: are you trying to set the mood?
The Toyota GT 86/Subaru BRZ should be a knock-out – a small, light and agile coupe is surely right up everyone’s strasse. To add to the anticipation, Toyota presented the sublime FT-86 concept two years ago. However the production version – the GT 86 and its Subaru twin, the BRZ – are depressingly poorly resolved.
Proportionally they’re excellent – extremely compact despite having a pair of small rear seats, and with a long, super-low hood. To get these cars through to production with such features is deeply impressive, yet those who controlled the design process through to production have thrown a bucket of tepid water over what should be a bright flame.
The area around the base of the A-pillar is a perfect example of how these cars fail. Shutlines, creases, half-hearted front quaterlight (why is this even here?!), disastrous mock air-outlets and window seals all collide together in a scene of carnage that is beyond comparison.
Their flanks have been similarly carelessly executed with featureless surfaces interrupted by pathetically simplistic graphics – the poorness of the way the rocker meets with the parabolic wheel arch flat is rivalled only by the way the rear arch haunch wobbles drunkenly around. These graphics, along with the DLO are clearly intended to emulate the Porsche Cayman. They don’t.
But for a true impression of how wrong the project has gone, take a look at the rash of creases, lamps and surfaces that have spread across the Toyota’s front mask (above). This is something Subaru should be happy it has been able to redesign, except it kept up its side of the bargain by adding a crass spoiler to the rear deck of the BRZ.
Why this has been allowed to happen is unfathomable – Toyota in particular has a wealth of design talent around the globe as its concept cars continually remind us. But there is quite clearly a filter between the creations of the design studios and pen of the man who signs off cars such as this. It’s a car that, on a marco level, should be the car of the show, but because of its detail resolution is the biggest disappointment.