Open phones: Let’s chat with the head of Toyota’s North American design studio

By J.G. Pasterjak
Aug 24, 2022 | Toyota

What questions do you have for a real car designer? Let’s hear them.

Today’s special guest is Kevin Hunter, president of Toyota’s Calty Design Research, Inc., and the pen behind the gorgeous Lexus LC, the 2014 Toyota FT-1, and many other popular Toyota models.

Word got to Toyota that even the cynical, performance-obsessed crowd that frequent GRM’s social media were mitten with the looks of the LC, and Hunter agreed to discuss its appeal, as well as other current design issues, with us.

The catch is it’s happening like right now: as in starting at 4 p.m. on  Wednesday, August 24. So if you have anything you’ve always wanted to ask a car designer, we’ll keep this thread open and try and relay some of your questions.

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JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
8/24/22 3:35 p.m.

Yeah I'm excited about this one. we had reached out and had left it at the "we'll schedule a time to chat" stage, then they called back and said "can that time be in an HOUR?" And that was like 20 minutes ago. 

So drop your questions in the thread and I'll keep this page open and try and sneak a few in.

j_tso HalfDork
8/24/22 3:58 p.m.

What was Mr. Hunter's motivation to enter the field?

Does he prefer sculpting with his hands or CNC?

Favorite cars?

How often does Mr. Toyoda pop by?



David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/24/22 4:02 p.m.

In reply to j_tso :

And my question is similar: Is clay still used, or is it all CAD these days?

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
8/24/22 4:11 p.m.

How much of car design these days is art, and how much is science--whether that be physics, engineering, computer skills, or even social science?



Duke MegaDork
8/24/22 4:19 p.m.

What's really driving the last decade of disproportionately large grilles?  To the extent that they are largely fake opening?  Toyota is not the only offender in this.


CrustyRedXpress GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
8/24/22 4:25 p.m.

What cars does he consider both beautifully designed and a mass-market sales success?

Ranger50 MegaDork
8/24/22 4:45 p.m.

Why so many nascar-esqe, aka same shape just the stickers/branding is different,  jelly bean vehicles?

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
8/24/22 4:53 p.m.

Thanks everyone. I managed to sneak most of these in in some form or another.

And, in addition to a few Toyota models, the shelf behind him also included such touches as an iron man mask and a stormtrooper helmet. Yeah we had a few things in common.

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