How Toyota Achieved the Crown Sport's Trailblazing Design


The Crown Sport was recently unveiled as "a new form" of sporty SUV. Members of the model's development team talk about the various challenges undertaken in the name of making ever-better cars.

Two young designers toil to create an asymmetric interior

To wow those riding in the Crown Sport, Toyota’s designers endeavored to create an asymmetric interior. Airi Kobayashi, who is part of the Vehicle Development Center’s Color & Sensitivity Design Department, was responsible for designing the upholstery and surface finishing for the interior. We began by asking her about the asymmetric interior concept.


The Crown Sport’s exterior design is sporty, yet can also come across as elegant and seductive. We created the interior to evoke the same elements.

The Crown Sport features left-right asymmetry in its interior coloring, as part of a sporty, elegant design intended to thrill drivers and front passengers alike.

The cockpit’s black trim aids driving concentration, while the welcoming gorgeous red upholstery gives the passenger side an atmosphere of premium, first-class seating.

One of the key points for Kobayashi was the interior trim, finished in a scarlet hue dubbed Sensual Red. A lustrous material used on the surface lends the color a pearlescent orange glow.


Just like the striking depth of the Crown Sport’s red body color, the beautiful nuance of the interior upholstery is equally captivating.

Meanwhile, the Vehicle Design Division’s Ayaka Yamamoto, who worked on the Crown Sport's interior design, described the difficulty of achieving this upholstery.


My job is to turn the designer’s vision into reality while taking into consideration all kinds of aspects, from shaping parts to ease of assembly and safety on the production line.

We encountered various red upholstery material problems in the prototyping stage, like wrinkling on curved dashboard surfaces and whitening over sharp angles.

We entrusted the process of affixing the material to interior parts to one of our suppliers, and we continued to refine the prototype on-site with their assistance.

Wrinkling proved worse than anticipated on the prototype.

Yamamoto and her colleagues examined the fibers of the synthetic leather material, loosening the weave and changing thread thickness to give it greater elasticity, as they searched for an optimal point where wrinkling and whitening no longer occurred.

At the same time, they worked with the design team to lessen the wrinkle-inducing dashboard curvature while retaining its attractive design. Through repeated trials, they arrived at a form that ensured consistent quality.

These diligent efforts helped create the Crown Sport’s asymmetric interior color scheme of red facing marked by deep shadowing.


Whereas past Crowns were seen as cars driven by an older generation, when I first saw the Crown Sport’s interior, I felt that the design would also appeal to young men and women.

I was determined to do everything possible to bring this red-surfaced asymmetrical interior to our customers.

Taking on these challenging tasks and committing to a development timeline that would allow us to share these products with customers swiftly, helped me personally to grow. I was truly relieved that we managed to do it.

Astonishingly, Kobayashi the designer and Yamamoto the interior designer are both in just their fifth year with the company, and had never before been part of a new model project. Both also agree that the current culture of Toyota’s carmaking genba enables such junior members to aim high.


Given the Crown’s history among Toyota cars, there could just as easily be a conservative attitude. But the mindset across all divisions is about attempting something new, and it feels like even us younger staff can easily take on challenges.


The Crown project team has a very strong sense of unity.

I think this is because everyone across the different departments shares a desire to work together to tackle various challenges, so that we can improve efficiency and create better cars.

In the second article, we highlight the efforts of the chassis design engineers and test drivers who teamed up to produce the high-quality, thrillingly agile driving performance that gives the car its “wow” factor behind the wheel.

We also speak with Yuji Honma, who oversaw the vehicle’s overall development, to delve into the spirit of innovation and challenge that created the Crown Sport.