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Car development for Toyota and Lexus

It all starts with a question
Lexus presented the new IS at the recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit. We will have our chance to see it in Europe for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show next week. But where does the process of creating a new car begin? Let's learn more from Junichi Furuyama, Chief Engineer of the New Lexus IS.

What is ‘fun to drive’?

A real first time for me to see the Chief Engineer of a car manufacturer clearly describing how competitor benchmarks were set as the new generation of the car is developed. They not only consider the competition within the segment, but also the starting point: “What is ‘fun to drive’?” In order to answer this question, a lot of analysis had to be done. 

First, our engineers had to define what the meaning of ‘fun to drive’ before testing rival cars against the IS at Toyota’s Higashi Fuji proving grounds. Using several parameters like steering, breaking or speed sensation, the team could determine how ‘fun to drive’ the new IS was.

In the picture: Toyota European Proving Ground (Zaventem, Belgium)

Not just in Japan

However, this type of procedure is not unique for the development of Toyota’s premium brand cars in Japan only. For example, this kind of analysis is also made at Toyota’s European Technical Centre in Zaventem, Belgium. But Toyota is not only testing when it is required for the development of a car, also to understand market trends. This is what the people from Vehicle Dynamics, one part of our Vehicle Performance Department, are doing. 

The amazing thing about this is that they test cars from other manufacturers, to find out in which direction the market is going in terms of vehicle ride, comfort and handling. Through this, Toyota sets a rank of performance targets which will help to position the product according to the level that they want to reach, giving a final result which appeals and satisfies the customer.

Acknowledgements: Vehicle Dynamics Team of Toyota Motor Europe