Meeting with FT-86 II Concept passionate designer
Last week in Geneva , I had the chance to have a dinner and meet with Akihiro “DEZI” Nagaya, General Manager Toyota Design Division.
After seeing Toyoda-san’s relaxed while professional attitude on the 24h Nurburging race, it was certainly one of the most interesting and impressive encounter with a TMC executive in all my time with Toyota. And I really believe, “DEZI” also made a significant impression on my colleagues.
Despite his long time and experience with TMC , Nagaya-san passion for automotive design is intact, and his excitement was communicative. He openly talked to us about the new and fresh era to come for Toyota and Toyota vehicles design. As all major designers or artists, he has a quite strong personal opinion about how design should be pursued for the next generation of Toyota cars, and I guess we would learn more about that quite soon; but most importantly what he confirms to us is that there is a significant shift in Japan in Toyota headquarters about vehicle design importance and customers perception. TMC management has understood the need to revigorate the passion with our brand and to emotionally reconnect with our customers.
Nagaya-san has personally received from the top of the company the message to bring more emotion throughout our line-up and reinforce their character. Interestingly, while we were eating a traditional Swiss cheese fondue, he was using the similar register/kind of culinary expressions, that I have previously heard from Toyoda-san or or Naruse-san, when referring to the new Toyota product direction, and how emotional it should be. For all of them, a car needs to bring the same emotion, the same pleasure, as an unbelievable meal, a good product is the combination of tasty ingredients, and the right “seasoning”. Like culinary creations, cars’ design, need the love and passion attached to their preparation.And if Nagaya-san is to be believed, then there should be a couple of appetizing products to come from Toyota in the close future.
The main starter/teaser for this new era is certainly the FT-86 II Concept, this stunning car is not only a preview of what next year Toyota sports car is going to look like but it also features some serious hints at our future design orientation.
“New Toyota cars need to be simple, but also bolder, their road presence and visual impact need to be reinforced”, says Nagaya-san. On the FT-86 II concept, the front is particularly stunning and is certainly impressive; and the fender lines have also been reinforced to give the concept this unique wide stance. Nagaya-san admits that the technical choice for a boxer engine, with a low and as far back position, has enabled him to design a low bonnet line and give the front grille this amazing presence. The concept is designed to clearly express the sporty, highly engaging, readily-exploitable dynamic abilities of the future car and its powertrain.
For those who wonder why we have changed the design from the previous red concept, Nagaya-san answered that major changes are based on the professional drivers feedback after testing early prototypes on the track and that this new concept is now really close to the final production version.
Nagaya-san really wants to give all future Toyota an iconic dimension. In view of the positive reactions towards his amazing concept here in Geneva, it looks like he is really going to succeed with the FT-86.