Report: Toyota Plans “More Risky Designs”

Future Toyota cars will look more exciting and may move away from the company’s current image of bland, appliance-like vehicles. That’s according to Toyota Europe executive vice president Karl Schlicht, who told Auto Express to “expect more risky designs” from Toyota.

Schlicht pointed to the Toyota FT-1 concept (pictured), which bowed at the 2014 Detroit auto show, as a signal that the Japanese automaker is considering more radical, exciting models in the future. He also pointed to the fact that Toyota launched the sporty GT86 (known here as the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ) as proof of that commitment to excitement. Schlicht told Auto Express that Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda has asked employees to focus not on selling as many cars as possible, but on making the best cars possible.

“He’s told everyone in the company not to chase the number one spot, but to do things right, make the best cars and the money will come,” Schlicht told AE. “If Akio [Toyoda] wasn’t CEO then our products would still be bland, but they’re not because he’s prepared to make a mistake.”

Although he wouldn’t comment on whether the FT-1 — rumored to be a new version of the famous Toyota Supra — is going to production, Schlicht did affirm that we can expect more, “emotional surprises like the FT-1 concept” from Toyota in the future.

Within the U.S., the first fruit of these labors is likely to be the 2015 Toyota Camry. Toyota group vice president Bill Fay told reporters last fall that the midsize sedan would receive “significant attention” in 2014 to help the car compete with a slew of refresh rivals, including the new Mazda 6 and the 2015 Hyundai Sonata that is expected to debut this spring.

“There were some who wanted to write Camry off this year, and it didn’t happen,” Fay told reporters in November 2013. “It’s safe to say we’ll be doing something with it [Camry].”

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