The Camry. Toyota knows it's the automotive equivalent of some Xanax and a bottle of wine before bedtime, but people keep buying it anyway. In spite of this, they want to make the next one have a little ZING! in terms of design, if that's even possible.
A report in Bloomberg details Toyota's goals for the next Camry, which includes a more "heart-racing design." As with all of the other interesting things Toyota has done lately, the initiative is pushed by CEO Akio "I Like Cars That Kick Ass So Our Cars Will Kick Ass Too" Toyoda, Japan's coolest car executive and a noted racing enthusiast.
Here's what Bloomberg reported:
The aim for the next Camry is a "more emotional, more impactful design," Kevin Hunter, head of Toyota's U.S. design studio, said in an interview at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week. "Camry's taken some hits on styling, but it's still selling well. But we need to create better design for Camry in the future."
Toyoda, grandson of the company's founder, is pushing an overhaul of vehicles with an emphasis on "waku-doki" design, shorthand for the Japanese phrase for heart-racing qualities. That would break from the current styling of the Camry and Prius, which together accounted for about a third of the Toyota City, Japan-based company's U.S. sales volume last year.
As much as us Jalops would like the next Camry to look all badass — maybe go rear-wheel drive or have six tires or something — you have to recognize that Toyota's in tough spot here. They sold 408,000 new Camrys last year. How do you make an exciting new one without alienating that base too much? The Camry has always been a pretty conservative choice, and a wild design may not appeal to its traditional buyers.
At the same time, I think everyone likes a good-looking car; most people would rather drive something that's at least handsome instead of boring. Look at what Mazda, Hyundai and even Chrysler have done lately. No reason Toyota can't do that too.
Since they're all over the place and we have to see them all the damn time, let's hope the next Camry is an improvement in the looks department, all while staying grounded to the ground in exactly the right way.