Just as Toyota established Calty in California in 1973 as an advanced design studio to develop new models, mainly for the US market, it also set up a design studio in Europe to develop products more tailored for that region.
Located in the south of France, the facility known as ED2 has been in operation since 2000 and is now Toyota’s European Design Headquarters. ED2 was responsible for carrying out design studies, especially of A-segment models, and was a major contributor to the original Yaris project. It was also responsible for the original concept for the C-HR crossover SUV.
Preview of the next Aygo?
Now ED2 is also bringing the same visual boldness to small cars with the Aygo X prologue, a concept model which is likely to be a preview of the next generation of the Aygo that was introduced in 2005. The Aygo was jointly developed by Toyota, Peugeot and Citroen (which have their own versions) and is also built as a factory in the Czech Republic which is jointly owned by the three companies.
“With the Aygo X prologue, I believe we’ve demonstrated that a small car can still be big and bold in personality,” said Ken Billes, Assistant Chief Designer at ED². The design has unique DNA and meets the demands of customers wanting flair, distinctiveness, and the chance to make a personal statement. Building on the model’s style icon position, ED² set out to design a new car specifically for them.
ED² assigned a dedicated team to focus on a unified message from start to finish and they became quickly convinced that there was an opportunity to bring a bolder and stronger design. From this conviction, the Aygo X prologue was born.
Bigger and taller
With the Aygo X prologue, an additional cheeky mischievousness is added to the mix. It’s just as fun like the current model, now with an added edginess to it. From every angle, it expresses a strong personality and an even stronger stance. By bumping up the size of the wheels, the driver sits higher and has a higher eye point for greater visibility, while additional clearance underneath will be appreciated when travelling on rough roads.
A bold bi-tone execution creates a unique graphic profile that grabs attention in the street by emphasizing the car’s readiness to leap forward into action. The wedged roofline also increases the dynamic feeling for a more aggressive sporty image. High-tech headlamps hug the upper bonnet to form a wing-like shape while, lower to the ground are the large hexagonal grille, foglamps and skidplate.
For the adventurous and active types
Practicality is an important aspect for the Aygo X prologue. The rear skidplate houses a bicycle-holder mount while, housed in the door mirror is an action-camera ready to record adventures at any time. An integrated roof rack accentuates the vehicle’s profile, as well as creating a visual link with the hexagon tail lamps, a subtle reminder of the Aygo DNA.
The designers at ED2 understand that, in life, colours are central to our emotions. For the Aygo X prologue, a ‘spicy’ concept to life is created with inspiration from certain ingredients such as chilli, ginger, wasabi and black pepper. Moreover, use of bi-tone was an additional invitation to take colour balances to another level with the inclusion of a fine sprinkling of blue metallic flake into the paint mix. The resulting dazzling effect makes the colour fully deserving of its name of Sparkling Chilli Red.
Working differently but together
The challenging project of creating the Aygo X prologue under present conditions has been a great test of the agile process of fast and fluid design development at ED2. Whether together or remotely, ED² design team members worked seamlessly from hand-sketching to digital sketch-modelling, to virtual reality simulations, to 3D ‘speedshapes’, right to the final car itself.
Although Toyota does not officially state that the Aygo x prologue will become the next generation of the Aygo, it looks pretty much like a production-ready design and will certainly be on a version of the TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform that is now used for all new models.