OK, so Toyoda-san didn’t so much introduce the new Camry as introduce its headlight. The good news is that the headlight looks like progress. The bad news is that most Americans were probably a bit distracted by the video’s spare production values and Mr Toyoda’s somewhat awkward demeanor (to protect you from your own hypocrisy, commentary on Toyoda-san’s accent will be moderated… unless you can post it in Japanese). Net-net though, Toyota can’t help but come across as an earnestly nerdy lot (led, as they are, by the king of the auto otaku), which fits their brand image well. And for all the talk about styling being the prime mover for consumers, and the necessity of emotion in design, if this new Camry is simply a fresher take on its earnestly nerdy predecessor, Toyota will have accomplished its mission. I’m beginning to wonder if Detroit’s intense dislike of Toyota isn’t simply because it’s the biggest Japanese competitor, but because Toyota’s leadership culture is the unassuming, unglamorous opposite of Detroit’s flamboyant tradition.
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