Toyota U-squared urban utility concept inspired by Maker Faire [w/video]

Toyota U-squared urban utility concept inspired by Maker Faire [w/video]

September 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Concept Cars , Minivan/Van , Technology , Work , Toyota , Design/Style There’s a quiet revolution happening in US cities. People want to mix an urban lifestyle with a connection to nature and appreciation for craftsmanship. The result of all of this is folks pursuing things as varied as urban farming, home brewing and the whole maker movement. Toyota thinks it has the perfect concept for these intrepid customers with its new Urban Utility – or, U-squared, not U2 like the band – concept that it is debuting during a panel discussion hosted by Make: magazine in San Francisco and debuting publicly on September 20 at the World Maker Faire in New York City. The Urban Utility concept can best be described as a modern take on the old panel van. Designers from Toyota’s Calty Design Research center in California interviewed Maker Faire participants to find out what its users want from a novel vehicle like this. “Toyota saw an opportunity for a new approach to an urban vehicle based on increasing re-urbanization of our cities and urban drivers’ desire for flexibility, fun and maneuverability,” said Kevin Hunter, president of Calty. On the outside, the Urban Utility doesn’t really scream for attention. It’s meant to meet users “desire for greater utility but a smaller vehicle footprint,” according to the release, but the shape is still very much a van. The designers do try to lend it some panache with the LED headlights up front and checker board side panels.

Jim Lentz Honored as Industry Leader of the Year by the Automotive Hall of Fame

Jim Lentz Honored as Industry Leader of the Year by the Automotive Hall of Fame

July 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

TORRANCE, Calif. (July 24, 2014) – Jim Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota North America, was recognized as Industry Leader of the Year at the Automotive Hall of Fame’s 75 th Anniversary Gala on July 24, 2014. The event was held at the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education, College for Creative Studies in Detroit. full_image_path: D:InetpubtoyotamediahtdocsimagesLentz_Hall_of_fame_thumb.jpg feed_brand_code:

Toyota design leader Dezi Nagaya moving to Yamaha

Toyota design leader Dezi Nagaya moving to Yamaha

July 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Hirings/Firings/Layoffs , Toyota , Design/Style If you want to know who’s been responsible for injecting some attitude into Toyota’s designs in recent years, look to Akihiro Nagaya. As a design executive and as a freelance consultant, the rockstar designer known as Dezi has styled more concept and production cars for Toyota and its Lexus brand than we would dare to count. But now he’s moving to Yamaha . According to Automotive News , Dezi Nagaya moved on July 1 to the Yamaha Motor Company as its general manager of design – a role it had never filled before, choosing to outsource most of its design work. Nagaya’s Facebook page indicates he’s been at Yamaha since January. We don’t know at this point whether Nagaya will be responsible for the design of all of Yamaha’s motor vehicles – including its motorcycles, scooters, ATVs and marine products – or just its automotive operations, but the hire comes at a time when the company has been exploring further involvement in four-wheeled transportation. In the past Yamaha has provided engines for vehicles like the Lexus LFA , Volvo XC90 and Ford Taurus SHO , and toyed with the idea of a supercar with the oddball OX99-11 concept in the early 1990s, but more recently embarked on a partnership with Gordon Murray Design to build the Motiv.e city car. Because Yamaha and Toyota each own a small piece of each other and collaborate on a range of projects, Nagaya’s move is being characterized as a “transfer” between partners instead of a poaching of one company’s employee by another. Toyota design leader Dezi Nagaya moving to Yamaha originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 14 Jul 2014 08:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .

Camatte concept puts the Toy back in Toyota [w/videos]

Camatte concept puts the Toy back in Toyota [w/videos]

June 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Concept Cars , Convertible , Japan , Videos , Toyota , Toys/Games It’s been two years since Toyota first revealed its Camatte show car at the Tokyo Toy Show. Though sadly never destined for production, Toyota brought the concept back the following year as the Camatte 57s roadster, and is now returning to the same show with yet another take on the kid-friendly, configurable 1+2 with interchangeable body panels – this time with a slew of features that are fresh not only to the concept itself, but to the industry altogether. This year the Camatte is being showcased in two forms: a bare chassis in the Tech Lab that lets kids see the inner workings of a modern automobile, and another in the Design Lab that lets kids draw their own motif for the concept that is then displayed on an LED hood. The overall approach reminds us of the way Toyota’s budget brand Daihatsu unveiled the Kopen roadster concept at the Tokyo Motor Show late last year, only even more kid-focused and decidedly more light-hearted than you might otherwise expect from one of the largest industrial giants in the world, and could only have been made for a toy exposition. In Japan. Which would explain the ridiculously upbeat videos below , where you’ll also find the brief press release. Continue reading Camatte concept puts the Toy back in Toyota [w/videos] Camatte concept puts the Toy back in Toyota [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 10:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink

Jay Leno gets behind the curtain on the design of the Toyota FT-1 concept

Jay Leno gets behind the curtain on the design of the Toyota FT-1 concept

April 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Concept Cars , Coupe , Performance , Videos , Toyota , Celebrities Hinting at the future of Toyota performance vehicles, the FT-1 concept was one of the stars of the Detroit Auto Show this year. It even nabbed fourth place in our Editors’ Choice list . While he’s a few months behind the car’s official reveal, Jay Leno managed to get the only existing concept of the sports coupe wheeled into his garage to take a closer look, and he’s pretty impressed. Leno speaks with Alex Shen and William Chergosky, the exterior and interior chief designers of the FT-1 respectively, to get a better idea of the inspirations behind the concept. Jay heaps high praise on it for mixing Italian and Japanese design and says he likes the look even more than the Lexus LFA . The coupe isn’t a product of either country, though. It was penned at Toyota’s CALTY Design Research center in Newport Beach, CA. The designers go into the entire history of the FT-1, and Shen even admits that Toyota design lacks an emotional factor at the moment. It’s a fascinating interview behind some of the little touches you might miss at first glance. Unfortunately, the model doesn’t have the green light for production yet and may never get made.

2015 Toyota Camry targeting ‘more emotional’ design

2015 Toyota Camry targeting ‘more emotional’ design

January 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Sedan , Toyota , Design/Style There are many ways to describe the Toyota Camry : “comfortable,” “economical,” “affordable,” “reliable” and “dull as a bucket of mayonnaise” would all be accurate. It’s this last one that the Japanese brand is seeking to change. While we aren’t expecting it to suddenly sprout a high-revving V8, a rear-drive layout or razor-sharp handling, a report from Bloomberg suggests we should at least expect a more evocative design from one of the best-selling cars in the country. The next Camry update, due for 2015, should have a “more emotional, more impactful design,” says Kevin Hunter, head of Toyota’s US design studio. That’s according to Bloomberg, who caught up with the styling boss at this week’s Detroit Auto Show . “Camry’s taken some hits on styling, but it’s still selling well. But we need to create better design for Camry in the future.” Toyoda wants to see waku-doki in his company’s designs – heart-racing qualities Hunter is right – the world of the midsize family sedan is no longer a realm of dreary designs. Cars like the Ford Fusion and Kia Optima both feature a design presence that allows them to stand out on the road, while new competitors like the Chrysler 200 and upcoming Hyundai Sonata should make for strong competitors. It isn’t just pressure from other manufacturers that is convincing Toyota to build a more stylish Camry, though. It’s a direct order from the man in charge, Akio Toyoda .

Toyota FT-1 Concept previews a future we want to live in [w/videos]

Toyota FT-1 Concept previews a future we want to live in [w/videos]

January 14, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Concept Cars , Detroit Auto Show , Coupe , Performance , Toyota Toyota has brought its A game to the 2014 Detroit Auto Show , showing off the striking FT-1 Concept. Short for “Future Toyota,” the FT-1 is, we’re imagining, the supposed Supra Concept we reported on early in December. Penned by the Calty Design Research team, the FT-1 draws inspirations from the FT-HS and the Lexus LF-LC concepts from 2007 and 2012, respectively. We certainly see a bit of Lexus LF-A in the design, while there’s more than a hint of Formula One in the FT-1’s pointed nose. “Our team was heavily influenced by Toyota’s sports car past, especially Celica and Supra , and we sought to capture some of that history. It is an aggressive, track-focused sports car concept with a presence that has been amplified for shock and awe,” said Alex Shen, Calty’s Studio Chief Designer. The FT-1’s interior is what Toyota calls a “place of business,” which would be a funny description of a Toyota, if the FT-1 didn’t look the way it did. The cabin is snug, while a colored heads-up display adds to the sense that this is more cockpit than cabin. While it may be a concept, it will be available to drive soon, as Toyota worked with Polyphony Digital to add the FT-1 to Gran Turismo 6 . According to the press release, which you can view below, the low-slung concept will be available for download tomorrow.

Toyota FT-1 Concept presents a future we want to live in [w/videos]

Toyota FT-1 Concept presents a future we want to live in [w/videos]

January 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Concept Cars , Detroit Auto Show , Coupe , Performance , Toyota Toyota has brought its A game to the 2014 Detroit Auto Show , showing off the striking FT-1 Concept. Short for “Future Toyota,” the FT-1 is, we’re imagining, the supposed Supra Concept we reported on early in December. Penned by the Calty Design Research team, the FT-1 draws inspirations from the FT-HS and the Lexus LF-LC concepts from 2007 and 2012, respectively. We certainly see a bit of Lexus LF-A in the design, while there’s more than a hint of Formula One in the FT-1’s pointed nose. “Our team was heavily influenced by Toyota’s sports car past, especially Celica and Supra , and we sought to capture some of that history. It is an aggressive, track-focused sports car concept with a presence that has been amplified for shock and awe,” said Alex Shen, Calty’s Studio Chief Designer. The FT-1’s interior is what Toyota calls a “place of business,” which would be a funny description of a Toyota, if the FT-1 didn’t look the way it did. The cabin is snug, while a colored heads-up display adds to the sense that this is more cockpit than cabin. While it may be a concept, it will be available to drive soon, as Toyota worked with Polyphony Digital to add the FT-1 to Gran Turismo 6 . According to the press release, which you can view below, the low-slung concept will be available for download tomorrow.

2014 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) – Toyota FT-1 Concept Reveal

January 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Calty Design Research President Kevin Hunter and Studio Chief Designer Alex Shen reveal the Toyota FT-1 Concept vehicle at the 2014 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Jan. 13, 2014.

LA Design Challenge invokes biology for 2025 concepts [w/poll]

LA Design Challenge invokes biology for 2025 concepts [w/poll]

November 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: LA Auto Show , BMW , Mazda , Subaru , Toyota , Design/Style Participants in the annual LA Design Challenge always manage to come up with edgy, wacky designs for future vehicles, but with a theme of “Biomimicry and Mobility: 2025″ this year’s crop of cars might be the quirkiest we’ve ever seen. As usual, automotive designers from around the world participated in this year’s competition, and all the designs will all be unveiled next week during the LA Auto Show with a winner being announced on November 21. Chinese automakers made a strong showing with Qoros , SAIC Motor , JAC Motors (the company responsible for the Ford F-150 clone ) and Changfeng all bringing interesting takes on the biology, human intelligence and sustainability theme. One of the more innovative ideas among these automakers is the Qoros Silk Road System allows autonomous vehicles to drive in packs similar to how ants travel. Speaking of ants, the SAIC Motor Mobiliant (shown above) gets its design from the shape of an ant’s body, and, like the insect, it can climb building acting as a personal elevator as well. The JAC Motors design also merges vehicle and building design, while the Changfeng LaBrea inspired by the design of muscle fibers. Other entrants include Subaru and US-based design teams for BMW , Toyota and Mazda . BMW’s duo of concepts mimic plant and animal life. The LA Subways concept acts as a submersible, single-person vehicle to take advantage of the LA river, with a shape similar to an Ocean Sunfish. The Sustainable Efficient Exploratory Device (SEED) imitates the shape of a seed pod, and uses propulsion methods inspired by a shark, dragonfly and a water bug.

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