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.

Toyota fills in details about its future design direction and global platform

Toyota fills in details about its future design direction and global platform

October 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Concept Cars , Lexus , Scion , Toyota , Design/Style “In the future, out of 100 customers, we want to excite ten of them instead of not offending all 100.” Almost all of the details about the Toyota New Group Architecture (TNGA) strategy have come out since the initiative was first reported on in March of this year, but Autoblog did learn a few new things about it on a recent trip to Japan. Probably the second-most important detail is that each new segment platform will be based around a common hip point to create an “optimal driving position architecture.” Previously, each car was conceived on its own, so Toyota couldn’t extract savings from cars that were close in size. The Etios , sold in Latin America and India, is not much smaller than the Corolla , but the two compacts had two different lead engineers, so they have different hip points and require different manufacturing processes and different kinds of commodity parts like seat belt equipment. A common hip point and driving position, as well as other moves like the an R&D reorganization and the switch to parts engineered for global approval and pooled buying, will allow Toyota to harmonize parts like airbags, pedal boxes and seat belts to save money. The company expects to save 15 to 20 percent on manufacturing using TNGA, and 20 to 30 percent overall once development is included. Toyota also says it will use the efficiencies gained and money saved to make those commodity parts better, and they will have longer life cycles; while the lifespan of a Corolla won’t change, a pedal box might carry over from one generation into a brand new generation. Three new front-wheel-drive cars are expected to ride on the platform in 2015, the Prius being one of them, and its advance estimate of 55 miles per gallon is said to be aided by the TNGA. Another important objective of the streamlined development programs and common parts is allowing the designers to actually, you know, design a car instead of wrapping a platform in meek metal. Said company CEO Akio Toyoda earlier this year, “Instead of developing what customers would want next, we were making cars that would rake in sales” – cars that were just as popular as they were boring. That brings us to what we think might be the most important advance provided by the TNGA, revealed in a presentation by company design chief Tokuo Fukuichi: “Before, we made cars so as not to be disliked by anyone.

Lexus Collaborates with MADE Fashion Week, Coco Rocha and Giles Deacon to Create Live Holographic Fashion Experience During New York Fashion Week

September 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

NEW YORK (Sept. 6, 2013)—To celebrate the launch of its all-new 2014 IS performance sedan, Lexus created and hosted a MADE Fashion Week event last night debuting a first-ever live holographic performance art experience. The event, “Lexus Design Disrupted,” featured supermodel Coco Rocha and a bold retrospective from the archives of designer Giles Deacon in a creative concept inspired by the IS and the brand’s commitment to design and technology. Joe Zee,

Lexus Celebrates the International Design Community with ‘DESIGN MATTERS’ Event in New York City

April 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

NEW YORK (April 19, 2013)—In its ongoing pursuit of innovation, Lexus is pushing the boundaries of technology, craftsmanship and design. This dedication to design was celebrated at an event hosted by global President Akio Toyoda in New York City. The event, called “Design Matters,” showcased Lexus’ commitment to design, both in its new products and in its global brand activities to an audience of established and aspiring members of the design community. Kristin Chenoweth served as mistress of ceremonies with The Roots and Questlove providing musical entertainment.

Next Toyota Prius to get electric all-wheel drive

Next Toyota Prius to get electric all-wheel drive

November 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Hybrid , Technology , Hatchback , Toyota If rumors are to be believed, big changes are in store for the next Toyota Prius . UK outlet Auto Express recently spoke with a Toyota engineer who leaked details concerning the development of the popular hybrid’s successor. According to that engineer, “The next Prius will redefine the hybrid as we know it.” The forthcoming Prius will be constructed on a new C platform, good for a 70-kilogram (153-pound) reduction in weight. The car’s current 1.8-liter engine will be modified, and the electric motor and power inverter will be downsized. But, according to the Auto Express source, it will deliver more power. It will also be more fuel efficient – which we kind of assumed – however, the source is claiming 90 miles per gallon fuel economy (on the UK cycle, we imagine, so something closer to 75 mpg here). If true, that’s definitely impressive. While the standard Prius will get these drivetrain changes, the plug-in version will remain largely the same. That said, both models will receive an electric motor that drives the rear wheels, as part of an e-4WD system. According to the source, Toyota would be, “targeting snowy areas” and said that the rear wheels will be driven at speeds “up to 37 mph.” Interestingly enough, Toyota will stick with nickel-metal hydride battery for the Prius, with lithium-ion fitted for the plug-in model.

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