- Future Concept Revealed: Toyota Baby Lunar Cruiser
- First west coast design studio for a major automotive
- Never-seen-before concepts also being revealed to the public
for the first time
BEACH, Calif., Oct. 5, 2023
/PRNewswire/ -- CALTY Design Research, the American outpost of
Toyota's global design network, is celebrating five decades of
groundbreaking design and innovation. The first major automotive
design studio on the west coast, CALTY created everything from the
1978 Toyota Celica to the 2024 Toyota Tacoma, and countless
concepts and production vehicles in between.
Today marks a glimpse into the future with the surprise reveal
of the Toyota Baby Lunar Cruiser (BLC) concept. Built to conquer
rugged terrain on Earth and beyond, BLC embodies a unique mix of
adaptive technology and heritage design cues from the original FJ40
The BLC is the latest in a long line of thought-provoking
concepts dreamed up by the CALTY design team. Some of those
concepts – like an early FJ40 proposal and the MX-2 sports car
concept – never made it past the walls of the design studio but are
being shared for the first time today.
Established in 1973 in
El Segundo, California, CALTY was
the vision of Dr. Shoichiro Toyoda
and Eiji Toyoda. The new studio was
deliberately kept quiet, allowing it to develop a unique identity
and provide fresh, creative inspiration to Toyota's global design
headquarters in Japan.
"California was a youthful,
vibrant epicenter of fresh ideas, a cool car culture, and the
glamorous movie industry that inspired CALTY to create innovative
designs and establish new trends," said Kevin Hunter, president of CALTY Design
When CALTY decided to expand and relocate, it didn't go far,
moving down the coast to Newport
Beach in 1978. That same year, CALTY's first production car
design, the second-generation Celica, became a global hit and the
designers haven't looked back since.
Five Decades of Daring Designs
decades, CALTY's direction and role evolved alongside
Toyota's growth. The 1970s was the decade of discovery and
research. The initial years at CALTY under studio
chief, Executive Vice President Mamoru Yaegashi were used primarily for
conducting research on future trends in design.
One such project was a proposal for an off-road vehicle based on
the Land Cruiser. CALTY even went so far as to build a one-fifth
scale model that was shown to executives from TMC for review.
CALTY's designers worked quietly in the shadows during this
time, diligently researching the market in and around Southern California. Experimentation was
encouraged, so the designers didn't limit themselves strictly to
cars and trucks.
The 1980s introduced the studio's shift toward exploring
innovative design language and techniques. There was plenty of
excitement within the design development teams who were given full
freedom to push the envelope of artistic process and pure
creativity in ways that had not been allowed in major studios at
Naturally, some of the designers turned their thoughts to high
performance sports cars, the first of which was the MX-1 in 1983.
It featured a mid-engine layout and a scissor-style doors.
A couple years later, a second mid-engine sports car concept was
not only designed, but built in house by CALTY out of fiberglass
reinforced plastic (FRP). It featured gullwing doors and a swing
arm steering wheel that could accommodate either left- or
During the 1990s, CALTY contributed significantly to Toyota's
production vehicles for the North American market. Notable designs
from this era include the 1995 Tacoma, the 1997 Prius and the 2000
It also worked on some designs that didn't make the final cut,
notably the fourth generation Supra, or A80 as it was known
internally. CALTY's intent was to take the Supra in
the direction of a "pure sports car," rather than continue
with the previous models' Grand Touring character. They gave it a
long hood and a linear bulge so the engine bay could accommodate a
large inline-6 engine.
They also enlarged the functional elements—wheels, engine, rear
spoiler, door handles, mirror mount—to heighten the Supra's already
distinct DNA. You can see traces of CALTY's advanced concept model
in TMC's production version of the fourth-generation car, which was
introduced in 1993.
With the growth of production car development in North America, CALTY established a design
studio in Ann Arbor, MI in 2004
which revolutionized local production design efforts, resulting in
the creation of North American-specific models like the Tundra,
Tacoma, Avalon and Sienna.
The 2010s brought an era of fun-to-drive, exciting vehicles,
thanks to Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda's
passion and declaration of "no more boring cars." Highlights from
this decade include: The 2012 Fun-Vii concept, deemed a
"smart phone on wheels"; the 2012 Lexus LF-LC, which became the
2018 Lexus LC500 and ushered in a new design language for Lexus;
and the 2014 FT-1 concept, which became the 2020 Supra, a personal
sports car favorite of CALTY.
CALTY still indulged its wild side at this time, however, with
concepts like the Scion NYC, which explored future transportation
trends in big cities.
CALTY Newest Concept – The Baby Lunar Cruiser
is always thinking about what's next, so it's no surprise
that its latest creation was inspired by a vehicle built to drive
on the moon. The Baby Lunar Cruiser (BLC) blends
design cues from the original FJ40 Land Cruiser with the futuristic
capabilities of an interplanetary exploration vehicle. BLC
draws inspiration from the real Lunar Cruiser being developed
by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Propelled by in-wheel electric motors and controlled by dual
joysticks, the BLC's compact footprint and airless tires give it
unparalleled maneuverability. It also boasts exceptional outward
visibility thanks to its protruding glass canopy and a panoramic,
augmented reality dashboard display. Heritage cues include a
"TOYOTA" script grille up front, complete with a full array of
cameras and lidar/radar sensors, and a split tailgate configuration
in back. Highly adjustable spaceframe seats and M.O.L.L.E. panels
throughout give the interior the flexibility to adapt to any kind
Looking Forward to the Next 50
Today, CALTY is made up of a
talented group of exterior and interior designers, CMF
(Color, Material, Finish) designers, clay modelers, digital
sculptors, visualization specialists, paint specialists, CAD/CAM
specialists, a research/planning group, a PR/Multimedia team and
administrative group, all working together to create the next big
thing in mobility.
"As we continue our journey from the automotive era into the
mobility era, there is one thing I feel I can say for sure," says
Simon Humphries, Toyota Motor
Corporation Chief Branding Officer and Head of Design. "CALTY will
be there at the forefront."
As the automotive industry shifts toward an electrified future,
CALTY will continue to lead the space with innovative vehicles such
as the 2021 Lexus Electrified Sport concept. CALTY's most recent
production designs, the highly anticipated 2024 Land Cruiser and
the 2024 Tacoma, showcase their commitment to moving forward and
embracing new technology while still remaining authentic to the
brand's heritage DNA.
True to their innovative spirit, CALTY's creative teams are
continually exploring new ways to integrate technology and movement
into future mobility solutions. From sports cars to trucks to BEVs,
CALTY has left an indelible mark on the automotive landscape,
showcasing their design prowess and passion for driving
As CALTY embarks on the next 50 years, Hunter reflects, "There's
no way we could have thrived without Toyota's support for enabling
new ideas. CALTY's role to explore, innovate, and inspire is
ingrained in our DNA, and we are excited to continue pushing
boundaries in automotive design."
For more information about CALTY Design Research's
50th anniversary celebration and their extraordinary
design legacy, please visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.
About CALTY Design Research
CALTY designs innovative Toyota and Lexus mobility concepts and
production vehicles for the North American and global markets.
Headquartered in Newport Beach,
Calif., CALTY also has a satellite design studio located in
Ann Arbor, Mich. that focuses on
North American production design. CALTY was founded in 1973 in
Southern California by Toyota, the
first automotive company to recognize the importance of
"California car culture" and its
powerful influence on national trends. Recently, CALTY has been
credited with design contributions on the production versions of
the 2018 Lexus LC500, 2020 Toyota Supra, 2023 Toyota Tundra, 2024
Toyota Tacoma and 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser. CALTY has also created
numerous motor show concept vehicles, including the 2012 Lexus
LF-LC, 2014 Toyota FT-1, 2017 Concept-i and 2021 Lexus Electrified
Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of
the cultural fabric in North
America for more than 65 years, and is committed to
advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota
and Lexus brands, plus our more than 1,800
Toyota directly employs more than 63,000 people in North America who have contributed to the
design, engineering, and assembly of nearly 45 million cars and
trucks at our 13 manufacturing plants. By 2025, Toyota's 14th plant
in North Carolina will begin to
manufacture automotive batteries for electrified vehicles. With
more electrified vehicles on the road than any other automaker,
Toyota currently offers 26 electrified options.
CALTY Design Research
Toyota Motor North
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SOURCE Toyota Motor North America