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Toyota wants to spice up design of next Camry

by Ben Hsu

Despite record sales, the automaker realizes design is a weak point.

For the next generation Camry, Toyota hopes to give buyers emotional as well as practical reasons to choose its best-selling sedan. The company is reportedly working on more aggressive styling for the next reskin, on orders coming directly from the top.

The automaker is well aware that its bread-and-butter models have a reputation for being spiceless and dispassionate. "Camry has taken some hits on styling,” US design studio head Kevin Hunter acknowledged to Bloomberg. "But it's still selling well. We need to create better design for the Camry in the future,” Hunter added, "more emotional, more impactful design.”

Still, the company is aware of the Camry's core audience and will have to strike a balance between broad appeal and enthusiast demands. The automaker clearly wants to maintain the Camry's best-selling passenger car status, which it's claimed for 12 consecutive years.

At the Detroit Auto Show this week Toyota dazzled with a one-two punch of uncharacteristically bold sports cars — the Toyota FT-1 and Lexus RC F. In particular, the FT-1 was said to have been designed on the Japanese principle of wakudoki, translated as "a palpable, heart-pounding sense of excitement,” which CEO Akio Toyoda wants to trickle down through the lineup.

Since taking the helm in 2009, Toyoda, grandson of the company's founder and a self-professed motoring enthusiast who's donned a racing suit on more than on occasion, has fast-tracked projects like the Lexus LFA supercar and Toyota 86/Scion FR-S sports coupe. If he has his way, it could herald a new era for the Aichi automaker.

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