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Toyota Aygo X UNDERCOVER

Interview with Tadao Mori & Jun Takhashi

by Lady Charlotte Lynham

Last week I headed to the capital of fashion, Paris, to attend the unveiling of the new project between Toyota and fashion label UNDERCOVER. Toyota and UNDERCOVER, both innovators in their respective fields, have reimagined the Aygo X city car as a showcase for the best of both brands and a new icon of the subversive spirit that the fashion brand’s head designer Jun Takahashi is known for. The Aygo X UNDERCOVER had its premiere in Paris in conjunction with the UNDERCOVER Fall 2023 catwalk show at Paris Fashion Week. Just 5,000 examples of this special model will be released, featuring unique interior and exterior design details.

The design updates are inspired by Takahashi’s creative philosophies of non-conformity and breaking stereotypes. They include a bi-tone grey body colour specially developed by Toyota and coral red accents around the cabin and on the black 18-inch alloy wheels. The UNDERCOVER influence is also witnessed in the branded seats, monogram-patterned floor-mats and Takahashi’s CHAOS/BALANCE catchwords depicted in roof decals. Aygo has been Toyota’s most accessible car since the original model was launched in 2005 and it has attracted many new style-conscious buyers to the brand with its youthful and fun character. The on-the-road price for the Aygo X UNDERCOVER is £20,095 with manual transmissions.

I was there in Paris to witness the launch of this car and to interview the designer Jun Takhashi and Tadao Mori, Toyota Motor Europe Head of Styling Design, about this collaboration.

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Tadao Mori, Toyota Motor Europe Head of Styling Design

How did the collaboration to design for Toyota come about?

We were looking at different brands for a potential collaboration. The Aygo X is a small, fun, playful city car so we wanted a partnership that would be memorable and different.  The idea was therefore to partner with a fashion brand that matched the car’s distinctive personality. We were really impressed with UNDERCOVER’s products and feel there is a good match between the brands. It is a disruptive brand that fits the audience for the Aygo X who are interested in fashion. Working together, we wanted to create something interesting and unexpected.

Why the Aygo X city car? Why does this car speak to you?

Aygo has attracted many new style-conscious buyers to the brand with its youthful and fun character. We wanted to create something unexpected and reach a new target audience which is younger for our smallest SUV.

Why was Paris Fashion Week chosen to launch this collaboration?

This is our first collaboration with a fashion brand and we wanted to appeal to a fashionable audience. UNDERCOVER was doing a runway show so it made sense to unveil our partnership here.

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What inspired the design for the new Aygo X city car?

Fashion design and car design have a lot in common, they are both creative and need to be out of the box to be different. We asked Jun Takahashi from UNDERCOVER to explore the Aygo X without any restrictions so we could see what he proposed. Jun introduced us to completely new ways of looking at colour and ideas for how to make more of everyday details to create something new. UNDERCOVER then put forward their own designs. This inevitably meant difficulties as the design had to be something we could manufacture. UNDERCOVER came up with some great ideas. For example, we see the floor mats as functional rather than as a style element.  They picked up on this and asked of they could do something different with it.

Why was the choice of colour so important for the new Aygo X city car?

The bi-tone grey body colour was specially developed with coral red accents around the cabin and on the black 18-inch alloy wheels. It makes the car stand out and be noticed. It’s a special colour for a fun car.

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Jun Takahashi of UNDERCOVER

What did you enjoy most about the project?

I use my car every day, so it was a real honour as well as a fun project to be involved with. As it was the first time for me to work on choosing colours and textures for a car, I enjoyed seeing the result.

Are cars something that you are passionate about personally?

Of course, I own and love them.

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