Volkswagen's top designer, Walter de' Silva, and other industry wise men say the industry is moving away from extreme shapes -- those in-your-face bumps and bulges that turned up on many vehicles in the past decade. But a couple of Japanese outliers still aim to shock and awe with their styling.
Nissan design honcho Shiro Nakamura says he's not done with outlandishness. And Toyota may just be getting started.
Thirteen years into his job, Nakamura is still reacting to the bland era of Nissan styling that helped get the company into trouble in the 1990s. The futuristic TeRRA SUV concept that Nissan will show at the Paris auto show this week is an example.
"We'd like to make another shock," Nakamura says of the next Murano crossover, which is due in 2014. The first Murano, in 2002, was a bold and curvaceous departure from the industry's boxy crossover designs.
And last week in Japan Toyota showed its redesigned Auris hatchback, a Corolla-based hatchback for Europe and Japan, and the first car exhibiting the brand's "keen look" styling language. The new edgier and sportier face -- a response to President Akio Toyoda's demand for Toyotas that are flashier and more fun to drive -- will be coming soon to a Toyota near you.