November 02, 2012 10:36
Toyota Korea unveiled its new Venza at the W Seoul Walkerhill Hotel in Seoul on Thursday. Chung Lee, a senior designer at Toyota in the U.S said the crossover utility vehicle reflects Toyota's new focus in external design.
To appeal to Korean consumers and stress Lee's role in coming up with the model's sleek look, Toyota let him present the details of the model's design to the press here.
When he turned 20, Lee moved to California to study transportation design at the Art Center College of Design. The school is famous for producing leading automobile designers including Chris Bangle, former chief of design for BMW.
After graduating from the school, Lee worked for General Motors for seven years before moving to Toyota. He is now in his eighth year with the Japanese carmaker, having already designed the exterior of Sienna minivan and Tundra truck, which is set to be released in the U.S. next year.
"There are about seven Koreans out of 20 designers at Toyota in the U.S.," said Lee.
"I tried to make the exterior [of the Venza] look aggressive. Former models usually appealed to retirees in the U.S., but the new model targets those in their 30s or 40s who enjoy outdoor activities, but who do not want to sacrifice style. I wanted to create a look for a car that is suitable for both leisure and work," he said.
The Venza also reflects changes within Toyota. Lee said past car development was led mostly by engineers, but now a wider range of staff contribute to help the designers create and express their "vision" as fully as possible.
The domestic version of the Venza comes as an all-wheel-drive with raised seats to give the driver and passengers a better view of the road. The 2.7-liter model retails for W47 million while the 3.5-liter goes for W52 million.
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