Toyota’s cars have long been the white goods of the auto world, but the automaker's been working hard to change that image. BusinessWeek has done an interview with Tokuo Fukuichi, president of Toyota's European design center, discussing what the Japanese automaker need to do to compete with the likes of Volkswagen and Renault Nissan.

Fukuichi discusses the European Design & Development Center in Southern France, which has a dedicated team of designers working to add an European flavor to the Toyota mix. They’ve been behind the success of the latest Yaris and Aygo models.

This interview is a great insight into the different needs for different markets. Here’s a choice quote about this:

"For example, Europeans like a nice heavy door—it provides a sensation of quality. But the Japanese prefer a thin door that leaves more space inside the car. Also, the size of cars has to be different. In Europe, for parallel parking, etc., the car mustn't be too long, but you can go for a lot of width. In Japan, because of the small garages, the car's width mustn't exceed 5.2 feet."


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