2014 New Verso DPL: Design
- Choice of 10 exterior colours, including new Avantgarde Bronze
- New bold 17" alloy wheel with a darker, smoked silver design
- Introduction of 2 new seat upholstery choices: Dark Grey fabric with silver stitching and Light Grey fabric with leather side bolsters
- New Tyre Pressure Warning System and gear shift lever design
The Verso combines the Toyota MPV's trademark, dual-zone styling with the company's Under Priority design language and Keen Look styling elements. A 2013 mid-life redesign has brought an increase in dynamism and desirability to the model range.
Building on the existing range of 10 exterior colours and 16" and 17" alloy wheels, the 2014 Verso introduces a new Avantgarde Bronze paint, a new 7-spoke 16" alloy wheel and a bold, 5-spoke 17" alloy design with a darker, smoked silver finish.
On board, the 2014 Verso interior features a more tactile gear shift lever design, the addition of a Tyre Pressure Warning System (TPWS) to the standard equipment list, and the availability of new seat upholstery -a Dark Grey fabric with 3D-effect silver stitching and a Light Grey fabric with leather side bolsters.
Mehmet Kilic, Senior Project Manager at Toyota's RandD centre in Belgium, discusses the Verso's uniquely European DNA, the significance of the exterior and interior design changes to the 2014 Verso, and the role of ED2 (Toyota's European design studio) in the creation of the new designs.
What makes the Verso unique?
First of all, its interior modularity and its ease of use, which is very important in the MPV segment. If we look at the profile of our main customers, they're very family oriented and have a lot of sporting and social activities going on… So they need flexible seating and loadspace.
Then, there is the styling. We have tried to introduce dynamism to a segment which traditionally favours rather static and boxy design.
So in summary, Verso is a stylish and modular family car. It is also one of the most compact 7-seat MPVs. When we ask our customers, this is one of their key buying reasons. They like the compactness, especially for city use, in combination with the maximized interior space.
How is Verso a 'full European' car?
Well, if we go element by element… More than 95% of Verso customers are Europeans… There actually is no Japanese Verso, and the equivalent in China looks nothing like this - it was launched two years before the current European car.
From a manufacturing perspective, about 95% of all parts are produced locally. Secondly, for the last three years, all RandD activities have taken place within Europe. So we are now kind of independent from the Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan the leadership is here in Europe. That also goes for the styling, and the product planning. All have been completely localised for the last three years. In all, some 350 to 400 local staff were involved in this project.
So Verso is made for Europeans, in Europe, by Europeans.
Why are you now launching this new 2014 Verso, just one year after the model's comprehensive mid-lifecycle upgrade?
This is a 'Model Year' car. With the Model Year concept, we want to introduce newness and freshness to the product every 12 months to keep the profile of the car as high as possible in the market. This is the first time we have applied this concept to Verso.
And, again, this idea is tailored completely to the European market. Typically, a Model Year would introduce visual newness, and perhaps some new equipment. But this 2014 Verso goes a bit beyond that, because we're introducing a new engine as well, which constitutes a wider choice, and gives us better access to the heart of the segment.
The Model Year concept also allows us to make product improvements. A simple example: this time, we are also changing the shift knob to a more tactile design. It is a part that the driver touches 100,000 times a year. If we can introduce a softer leather, better ergonomics… Let's not wait for the next generation to come… Let's do that now.
How did you decide which elements to update for the 2014 Verso?
After the 2013 facelift, we continued to refine a second colour interior that we had been working on. With this 2014 model we are introducing that lighter interior, which should not only attract families but also fleet and business customers. These drivers spend many hours a day in their cars, so a lighter, brighter interior really makes a difference. It may also be seen as more prestigious.
We also have two new alloy wheels, a 16" and a 17". The 17" is quite robust looking … It's bold and the colour is not a standard silver, but a darker, smoked colour.
When you put these different elements together with the new bronze exterior body colour, the Skyview panoramic roof and privacy glass —along with the new 1.6 diesel engine and upgraded multimedia systems, you end up with a new and very attractive package.
What was the involvement of ED2 in the creation of the new designs?
They are one of our most significant partners in product development, especially for a job like this. A car has 2,000 parts and we are only changing 1% to 5% of them, so you aim for maximum impact from those changes.
The exterior colour is the number one element from a communication perspective, so that's where ED2 comes in: Which colours to select why what are the market trends how will they stand the test of time?
This isn't just an automotive issue… It applies to any product. Take the Pearl White body colour that we used to launch the 2013 Verso you can see similar colours on smartphones, PCs, TVs… There's a clear trend. Grasping that trend and making sure our products fit in, that's the expertise ED2 brings to a project such as this one.