What do you think of the look of Toyota's Camry sedan? Do the current model's sharp lines work for you, or does it still miss the mark?
Whatever your view of the Camry, there's no denying one thing: it's far-and-away the best-selling medium car in Australia. Its well-earned reputation of reliability makes it a winner with fleets, and a 'sure thing' for no-fuss private buyers.
Seems that isn't enough for Toyota, or at least not for company president Akio Toyoda.
He has made his views clear since coming to the top seat in 2009 that the company must find an emotional connection with its buyers.
"Rather than asking, 'How many cars will we sell?' or, 'How much money will we make by selling these cars?' we need to ask ourselves, 'What kind of cars will make people happy?," Toyoda said in 2009.
This week, a report with business paper Bloomberg saw Kevin Hunter, boss of Toyota's American design studio, promise exactly that.
Hunter's team has been charged with developing a “more emotional, more impactful" design for the new model.
“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,” Hunter said.
We shouldn’t expect a dramatic reinvention of the wheel, though, according to Toyota US sales boss Kazuo Ohara. After all, the Camry’s historically conservative look has likely won it more sales than it’s lost.
And, according to Toyota Australia, the current model has had markedly more success with younger buyers than its predecessor.
“I would not go so far as saying we could be adventurous, but at least more aggressive,” Ohara told Bloomberg. “We were probably a little bit too conservative [with the current Camry].”
Ohara added that buyers of the next Camry can expect a more “emotional” (there’s that word again) exterior design, along with enhanced features and styling in the cabin.
That new model will be a while away yet - the current model launched in 2011 - but a refresh due in 2015 might offer a first early look at Toyota’s plans for producing a more… emotional… Camry.