Toyota design chief sees future without mass-market cars
Toyota’s Simon Humphries: “On one side we’re going to see this optimized (transport) system, but on the other side you’re going to see a pure race car.”
NAGOYA, Japan — As sharing services change car use and ownership, Toyota Motor Corp.’s new design chief believes that vehicles will shift towards either generic boxes on wheels for everyday use or ultra-luxury cars, wiping out the need for mass-market models.
Simon Humphries, responsible for design at the automaker’s Toyota and Lexus brands, said that fleets of electric, self-driving shuttle bus-like vehicles could one day eliminate the need for people to drive themselves around on a daily basis.
This could one day make cars like its popular Camry and Corolla models obsolete down the line.
“On one side we’re going to see this optimized (transport) system, but on the other side you’re going to see a pure race car,” Humphries, who last month became general manager of Toyota’s advanced r&d and engineering company, told reporters in Nagoya.
“There will be an emotional solution, and a practical solution. So maybe the story is that the middle ground is increasingly going to disappear.”
Toyota, one of the world’s largest automakers which for years has focused on building reliable, fun to drive cars, is now also looking beyond personal-use vehicles to survive in an industry which is being transformed by the onslaught of electrification, automation and other new technologies.
As automakers compete to come up with new, profitable transport services, Toyota last month showed a self-driving electric concept vehicle which can be used as buses, mobile shops or moving offices.
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