24 October 2017
Andaz, Toranomon Hills


Car Design Forum Tokyo: Recap


The second Car Design Forum Tokyo – which took place recently just ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show – was another great success, attracting a very full room of senior automotive designers there to see their contemporaries present their insights and inspirations.

We owe a great debt of thanks to our speakers, our sponsors and of course our audience, both in the Andaz Hotel, Tokyo, watching via live videostream, or catching up later via video.

1kia1744Introduced once again by industry legend Shiro Nakamura and featuring speakers from car manufacturers around the globe, there was a particular focus on Asian brands, which reflected the meteoric rise of Chinese, Korean and Indian companies – to which end we heard from senior representatives of GAC, Hyundai/Genesis and TATA Motors, among others.

The day of talks from the headline speakers was broken down into four sessions which gave a unique perspective on where car design is now: New Luxury, Alternative Asia, Adventure Heritage and Brand Evolution. Each talk brought us revelations, from the incredible statistics associated with the Indian market, to a hint about the next Land Rover Defender and a call from Geely’s Peter Horbury to aspiring automotive designers that he is hiring…1kia1862

Meanwhile, Honda’s Matsuhashi-san saying that “Designers need to make people happy; if they don’t do that, what’s the point?” goes some way to explaining the clean, friendly, inviting nature of their new Urban EV and Sports EV concept.

There was passion in the eyes of everyone who spoke (perhaps in none more so than Marek Reichman of Aston Martin). If you want to take in that passion and learn what we learned, all four sessions are available on video to watch in full.

Session 1: New Luxury

Alfonso Albaisa (Senior Vice President of Global Design, Nissan)
Sangyup Lee (Vice President of Design, Genesis)
Yoshihiro Sawa (President, Lexus and Managing Officer, Toyota)
Moderated by Yuko Iida, automotive journalist

Session 2: Alternative Asia

Pratap Bose, Head of Design, TATA Motors and TAMO
Zhang Fan, Vice President, Head of Design, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co.
Peter Horbury, Executive Vice President of Design, Geely
Moderated by Masatsugu Arimoto, design journalist

Session 3: Adventure Heritage

Mamoru Ishii, General Manager, Design Department, Product & Portfolio Planning Division, Subaru Corporation
Massimo Frascella, Creative Director Exteriors, Land Rover
“Dezi” Nagaya Akihiro, Executive Officer and Chief General Manager Design Center, Yamaha
Moderated by Chris Maillard, CDN Editor-in-Chief

Session 4: Brand Evolution

Tsuyoshi Matsuhashi, General Manager and Chief Design Officer, Honda
Marek Reichman, Director of Design, Aston Martin
Antony Villain, Design Director, Alpine
Moderated by Tetsuya Kato, publisher/editorial director, Car Graphic