By Nat Shirley
Monday, May 21st, 2012 @ 4:33 pm
 
After years of conservatively styled models, Toyota is looking to differentiate itself from the competition with design as it attempts to regain market share following last year's tsunami disaster.

"We're moving to more unexpected designs; that's our big message," said Kevin Hunter, president of Toyot's CALTY Design Research unit, at the WardsAuto Interiors Conference last week.

"In the past, let's face it, we had boring design."

While current Toyotas can seem cute or surprised, upcoming models will adopt a more confident look previewed by the new Avalon and the Lexus LF-LC concept, Hunter said. Toyota will also try to take more of a pioneering role in the field of design, rather than relying on current consumer preferences to dictate future vehicles.

"We're going to act more instinctively," Hunter said. "We'll continue listening to the customer, but we can't do creative design only listening to the consumer. They don't know what they want five years from now. We're going to make some predictions."