by Sam Livingstone
In Japan the Will brand sells a car called the Will Vi alongside beer, stationery and various other consumer products and services. This unique brand concept was established in 1999 by Toyota with four different non-automotive Japanese companies who all needed to create a more youthful and feminine brand to complement the market position of their predominantly traditional mother brand.
The cars are sold separately to the Toyota badged cars and maintain a distinct identity from all Japanese cars through strong character design.
The Will VC concept debuting at this years Tokyo show is based on the Yaris platform but shares no visible common parts. Decked out in the corporate Will orange color, and featuring an unusual rounded front bonnet and large grinning black grille aperture, the VC had more than a hint of Halloween pumpkin about it.
The concept aims to combine some of the visual toughness that the market increasingly demands, with a soft and approachable feel intrinsic to the brand. A hard brief to meet, and one that it meets less successfully than the Nissan MM that shares a similar objective. The exterior also features an unusual wraparound DLO with black edges that cuts through the upper section of the doors.
Inside the car, the idea was to create a 'cybercapsule' that will be inviting to young couples and 'nurture affection that increases with use. The orange circular theme continues through from the exterior more successfully, but Will are shouting loudest about their voice activated AI (artificial intelligence) 'G-Book communications system that learns from, and adapts to, the user.
This function delivers e-mails, news downloads, event information, and music including karaoke. It also provides navigation with real time traffic information and details on shops and restaurants linked to the system. As the user becomes familiar with the system, the car personalizes information by referring to previous requests.
Will is an exciting brand currently only being marketed in Japan, and this quirky car has had some unique and relevant objectives for its design, not least its leading role within Toyota in progressing G-Book information services. Lets just hope that the 'futuristic commuter styling' of the VC doesn't confuse anyone around the 31st October.