Toyota has embarked an exciting new era of automotive design that is resulting in stronger, more attractive styling for its vehicles, according to one of the company's Global Design Executives.
Kevin Hunter - president of Toyota's North American design studio, Calty - said Toyota's global president Akio Toyoda had challenged the company's designers to create cars that spark people's emotions.
"Toyota's designers are car enthusiasts and absolutely passionate about designing desirable cars, so we are answering Mr Toyoda's challenge with cars such as the latest Corolla, Camry, C-HR and Prius," Mr Hunter said.
Mr Hunter, visiting Australia to discuss Toyota's design process, said Toyota had previously relied on "safe" designs that relied heavily on consumer studies and a high degree of internal consensus.
"But, with Mr Toyoda's challenge to develop style that stirs people's emotions and makes them want to drive our cars, Toyota's design efforts are less reliant on consensus now.
"We have empowered our designers and engineers to develop a creative and passionate vision of future mobility. The goal is simple, yet profound: develop future generations of products that connect on an emotional level.
"As a result of this new global commitment, we expect to develop the most capable, most exciting generation of vehicles the company has ever produced."
Mr Hunter said the new era of Toyota design was evident in vehicles like the new Corolla hatch being launched in August as well as the latest versions of the Prius hybrid-electric hatch, C-HR SUV and Camry sedan.
"It not a coincidence that Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platforms underpin these cars - and will play a fundamental role in many more to come," he said.
"These new models are pathfinders for the styling and dynamic benefits of TNGA, qualities that will be further developed as new platforms and vehicles are introduced to Toyota's global range in the months and years to come.
"TNGA has redefined Toyota's approach to vehicle development and manufacturing, resulting in vehicles that can inspire confidence and deliver genuine fun-to-drive performance.
"From an engineering and manufacturing perspective, TNGA is focused on items that are largely out of sight. Their lower centre of gravity, more rigid frame, new suspension and greater use of high-strength steel provide direct benefits that result in balanced handling and a more engaging drive.
"Hand-in-hand with dynamic improvements, TNGA also liberates vehicle design, enabling rooflines and bonnets to be lower and resulting in each model being
visually distinctive with more appealing proportions.
"In short, TNGA is the key that's unlocking an exciting new era of Toyota design, giving designers, the freedom to produce stronger, more attractive styling."
Mr Hunter cited the stunning FT-1 concept produced by Calty as a symbol of Toyota's design future...a spiritual pace car for a changing, evolving Toyota.
"FT-1 is symbolic of a new chapter for Toyota global design. It is a provocative concept that truly captures the passion, excitement, and energy of this new era of Toyota design.
"It also embodies elements of the emotion and performance that Toyota will imprint upon future production designs," he said.