What is the role of chauffeur-driven mobility in an age of diversifying values? The new Century embodies a uniquely Japanese aesthetic and craftsmanship, unchanged since the series' launch in 1967.
On September 6, the new Century enjoyed its world premiere in Tokyo. Four days later, Chairman Akio Toyoda visited the Toyota Times studio during our live broadcast of Rally Hokkaido.
While the conversation centered mainly on the rally, it also touched on the recently unveiled Century. On air, Akio made the following comment:
This is the top premium, chauffeur-driven car not just within Toyota but in Japan. I think this model will also suit younger people and those who previously felt that a Century was not for them.
Launched in 1967 in Japan, the Century has become synonymous with chauffeur-driven mobility (vehicles for owners with a personal driver). During the broadcast, Akio recalled a time when Toyota’s executive parking area was “nothing but Centuries.”
However, Alphards and Vellfires are common among the company’s higher-ups. As seen at this year’s ceremony to welcome new employees, the cherished rides of Toyota’s management are no longer solely chauffeur-driven cars.
The age of diversifying values extends to chauffeur-driven mobility.
On stage at the world premiere, Toyota revealed a car that has evolved with the times.
Concept: The Chauffeur
Even at a glance, the new model’s refined silhouette, shaped by the hands of skilled craftspeople, clearly carries on the Century tradition, from the exquisitely engraved phoenix emblem to the body’s mirror-like finish.
Inside, the VIP rear seats have evolved to cater to diversifying values.
While retaining the Century’s signature quietness, the interior offers a comfortable space where passengers can relax and focus on work.
The wide-opening doors, the width and height of the power steps, and the C-pillar grips ensure elegant entry and exit, even in a dress or kimono.
While the new Century’s profile may have the look of an SUV, this design carefully considers the travel needs and behavior of those on board, embodying the model’s concept: The Chauffeur.
“A singular automobile representing the height of Japanese sensibilities”—this is how Simon Humphries, Toyota’s Chief Branding Officer (CBO) and Senior General Manager of Design, introduced the car at the world premiere. We take a look back at his presentation.
[CBO Humphries’s speech] It takes a nation to build a Century.
Good afternoon, everyone.
Today marks a special moment for a car at the very pinnacle of the Toyota portfolio - Century.
Century is a singular automobile representing the height of Japanese sensibilities.
Born as the pride of Toyota, Century has become the pride of Japan.
It takes a nation to build a Century.
And that nation is changing.
But to understand the future, we must first understand the past.
Every great product is created by great people. Through those products, they inspire ever greater accomplishments.
Century was named in honour of one of those individuals.