This episode is *really* visual. To see our line-by-line review of the Toyota Century SUV in real time, watch along at https://youtu.be/BtDJNCnuVlY?si=WAzJXEJ55_KeWa8c
Criticism and the automotive industry make for uncomfortable bed fellows.
We put so much heart and soul in to creating a car that when someone points out its flaws, it can be like being told that someone doesn't like our child.
Except the cars we design are not our children.
They're manufactured products that have an enormous impact on the world around us.
They influence the way we think and behave.
They shape our understanding of public space and how we share it.
And they consume vast quantities of natural resources in their manufacture and use.
So, as car designers and design strategists, alongside the engineers, product planners, and leadership we work with, we reckon we have a responsibility to question intently the impact that our work has, and to think deeply about what we have to do better.
That the Toyota Century SUV is the object of our critique in this episode is almost neither here nor there. There are any number of new cars that fail to meet the needs of the moment in which we find ourselves.
But as way to understand how design and product planning decisions can have such a remarkable impact on the perception of a brand, the big SUV, and the way it toys with the ethos and mythos of Century, is hard to miss.
We’re not here to denigrate or mindlessly criticise.
We are here to get people to look up from their day-to-day, look out for the shifts and signals that are going to impact their work, and connect the dots that lead to a more sustainable, more equitable future.
With this episode, we’re making our first, messy, and very public attempt to create a template for having critical conversations about the future of the automotive industry, and the role of design within it. We're not going to get it right first time, but we'll keep trying.
So whether you yelp in agreement with us, or shake your fist with rage that we dared question the status quo, take this as an invitation to speak up and share your views, not just with us, but with the Looking Out community.
Over the coming months, we’ll be developing a series of Looking Out interviews. Our aim is to present a diverse set of perspectives on where we should be headed. And if you’re reading this newsletter, or listening to or watching the podcast, chances are you’re someone we’d love to hear from, or you know someone we should speak to.
So drop us a line at theautomobilitygroup gmail.com and let’s start a conversation.
That's it for this episode! Thanks for listening.
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