Toyota Motor Corp. is looking to create a heart-racing Camry without jeopardizing its appeal to the mass market and losing its No. 1 status in the United States. Changing the Camry’s design poses some risk if Toyota gets its redesign wrong. The same is true for the Prius, which wrong shift to a heart-racing design could result to it being overtaken by other hybrid vehicles in terms of sales.
Next-generation versions of both cars are currently in the works. Kevin Hunter, head of Toyota's US design studio, told Bloomberg in an interview that the aim for the next Camry is a "more emotional, more impactful design." He noted that they need to create better design for Camry in the future.
Toyota president Akio Toyoda is asking for an overhaul of vehicles with an emphasis on "waku-doki" design, which is shorthand for the Japanese phrase for heart-racing qualities. Doing so would be a break from the current styling of the Camry and Prius.
"Finding the right balance is going to be very tricky" for the Camry, remarked Jack Nerad, analyst and executive editor at Kelley Blue Book. Nerad remarked that most consumers like good-looking cars as “they don't want to drive appliances."
According to Kazuo Ohara, head of Toyota's US sales unit, there are limits to how far the carmaker can go in modifying the Camry’s design since the car’s customer base is so large at around 5 million owners.
"I would not go so far as saying we could be adventurous, but at least more aggressive," Ohara told Bloomberg in an interview in Detroit this week. He remarked that with the current Camry, Toyota was “probably a little bit too conservative." [source: Bloomberg]