Technical Development


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1970s-1980s: Aiming to create world-leading designs, TMC began building an organizational structure with a global perspective in order to strengthen its development capabilities based on the philosophy of designing vehicles where customers are located
Calty Design Research, Inc. (Calty) established on the West Coast (El Segundo, California; moved to Newport Beach in 1978), as the first design facility in the U.S. by a Japanese automaker, to better understand the latest American market trends
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May 1
Against a backdrop of increasing diversification and individualization and as part of its design business strategy, Toyota becomes a co-investor in establishing Tecno Art Research Co., Ltd., the first design company for the Toyota Group, in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture
September 13
Toyota Europe Office of Creation (Toyota EPOC) established in Zaventem, Brabant, Belgium as a step toward full-scale design activities in Europe
Celsior and Lexus LS 400 designed with the goal of creating luxury cars that would be embraced globally; Differentiating the vehicles from the Crown's luxurious image a major design challenge
1990s: Development ideas from Calty as well as various design centers in Europe, etc. led to actual vehicles that were highly rated both inside and outside Toyota and received numerous awards
May 17
Tokyo Design Center (internally called 'Tokyo Design Div.') opened in Mita, Tokyo, to strengthen Toyota's design functions in Tokyo
October 1
Calty-proposed passenger minivan with a design-focused package mass-produced as the first-generation Estima (called the Previa in the U.S.) and wins Toyota its first Good Design award; The model accelerates the derivation of cab-wagons into passenger vehicles
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After an era of 'Super White' (a popular Toyota vehicle color) was created with the Soarer, the Mark II, and other models in the 1980s, the opal color adopted beginning with the Sera launched in 1990 becomes one of the most popular colors for the Emina, the Lucida, and the Carina, winning Toyota the Talk-of-the-Town Prize in the Auto Color Awards.
First-generation RAV4, a sport-utility vehicle that led to present-day crossover vehicles, designed; Like the Estima, the RAV4 wins the Good Design Gold Award
Contract Designer Program introduced as a new personnel system aimed at internal revitalization and bringing in designers (foreign and other) who have unconventional ideas and experience
January 20
Dedicated design building (presently No. 3 Design Building), where designers and modelers are concentrated to create an independent working environment and improve work efficiency, completed inside the Toyota Technical Center at the TMC Head Office
April 22
Tokyo Design Research & Laboratory moved to Hachioji City to enable it to propose designs on the same level as overseas design centers
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November 16
First-generation Yaris (called 'Vitz' in Japan), which sets a new standard for vehicles in its class, designed by Toyota's European designers as part of Toyota's full-scale entry into the European market; The model wins many awards, including the Car of the Year Award in both Europe and Japan, and the Good Design Gold Award in Japan
2000s: As the importance of design identity increases in the 2000s, Toyota firmly establishes and begins promoting its design philosophy and strategy; Full-scale use of digital technology commenced to fundamentally improve Toyota design efficiency
EPOC integrated into Toyota Europe Design Development (ED2), which was established in 1998 in Nice, France, to further strengthen Toyota design capabilities in Europe
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January 1
Design Group system implemented to promote Toyota's brand and design strategies, strengthening Toyota's organizational structure
(Reorganized along Toyota-brand and Lexus-brand lines in January 2003)
'Vibrant Clarity' and 'L-finesse' appealed as the design philosophies behind the Toyota and Lexus brands to promote a new-generation of Toyota and Lexus vehicles; Design strategies later publicized both inside and outside the company by holding 'Lexus L-finesse' art exhibits at the Milan Design Week from 2005 to 2009, among other efforts
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March 24
Design Headquarters, equipped with the latest virtual-reality system and an all-weather, indoor-outdoor testing facility, completed at the TMC Head Office
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Second-generation Prius wins Toyota its first Good Design Grand Award, as environment-friendly designs go mainstream, making the Prius' triangular silhouette and other design features visual icons of environment-friendly cars
October 1
'j-factor' design philosophy promoted as part of an effort by all TMC engineering divisions to incorporate unique Japanese values and aesthetics
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May 14
Full-fledged global move toward local development Toyota opens 'Calty-Ann Arbor' design studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan, commencing full-fledged efforts to establish design centers throughout the world
Toyota opens Toyota Design Intersection in Harajuku, Tokyo as the key location for strengthening its design PR strategy and encouraging exchange of ideas with outside designers
Planning, development, and production of the North American-market-only Venza is done completely in the U.S., strengthening Toyota's strategy-by-region approach and marking the start of true localization; Calty handles the Venza's design from planning to commercialization
Toyota iQ launched; While also using space with thorough efficiency to achieve harmony with the environment and conserve energy, the vehicle also balances compact interior and exterior design with a sense of roominess and presence; Vehicle receives numerous awards in Japan and overseas, such as the Good Design Grand Award, the National Commendation for Invention Special Prize, Germany's iF award, and France's Observeur du Design award
Third-generation Prius launched; Vehicle further evolves the superior aerodynamic performance that continues since the first-generation (Cd value of 0.25), and maintains the definitive Prius style that is an icon among hybrid vehicles; Vehicle receives the Good Design Gold Award
In order to further the localization of development, localization of process completion, and locally-based design review coordinated with local design divisions realized in bases for Calty Design Research and ED2
To reinforce the identity of the second-generation Lexus, expansion of the spindle grille line-up is announced in coordination with early announcement of GS model
LF-LC, Lexus concept car, displayed at Detroit Auto Show; Vehicle wins Eyes On Design Award for best concept car

History of Digital Technology Utilization

Measurement line diagram
Drawing support-and-evaluation technologies using Toyota Data File System of Body Engineering and Manufacturing (TDFB) and New-TDFB
Modeling support technologies using CAD and CAM
Creative method for initial design planning using Computer Aided Styling (CAS)
Use of computer graphics

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