Forget the fuel economy numbers and the environmentally friendly products it normally talks about. When Toyota rolled into town for this year's North American International Auto Show it had muscle on its corporate mind.
Toyota delivered one of the big surprises to come from this year's Detroit Auto Show as it revealed the new FT-1 sports car concept, which a senior executive described as "emblematic" of the more "passionate" direction the maker will take with its styling going forward.
While many of the makers launching new products at this year's Detroit Auto Show gave reporters a sneak peek at what they were planning, the Japanese giant maintained a strict curtain of silence which led to even more speculation about what might be in store. Many observers were expecting to see the return of the once-popular Toyota Supra.
They were at least aiming in the right direction. Admitting the maker has traditionally "chosen not to take too much risk" with products that critics have often dubbed bland appliances, advanced design director Kevin Hunter said Toyota is now taking a new approach to styling—encouraged by CEO Akio Toyoda.