Toyota will make its first appearance at Milan Design Week next month with a world debut for Setsuna, an attractive new concept car made primarily of wood.
Toyota chose wood as a material that can capture the developing relationship between people and their cars in the way it changes in appearance over the years. Setsuna’s surfaces will gradually transform, as if absorbing the hopes, memories and aspirations of successive generations of family.
The name Setsuna – which means ‘moment’ in Japanese – was chosen to reflect how people can experience special and memorable experiences with their cars. Toyota believes that, over time, these collective moments can give cars a significant place in their owners’ lives.
To capture this concept, Toyota has picked a variety of distinctive types of wood for different parts of the car, including the exterior panels, frame, floor and seats. This gives Setsuna appealing characteristics not found in conventional cars: it can last for many generations, if properly looked after, and its colour and texture will change in response to its environment, particularly to temperature and humidity, and how it is used.
Kenji Tsuji, the engineer overseeing Setsuna’s development, said: “We evaluated various ways to express the concept and selected different woods for specific applications, such as Japanese cedar for the exterior panels and Japanese birch for the frame.
“We also paid particular attention to the size and arrangement of individual parts and used a traditional Japanese joinery technique called okuriari, which doesn’t use any nails or screws. The completed body line expresses a beautiful curve reminiscent of a boat.
“We would also like the viewer to imagine how Setsuna will gradually develop a complex and unique character over the years. It includes a 100-year meter that will mark time across generations and seats that combine functionality with attractive, gentle hues of the wood.”
The electric motor-powered Setsuna measures 3,030mm long and 1,480mm wide. A two-seater, it stands 970mm tall and has a 970mm wheelbase. It will be on public view at 31 Via Tortona in Milan from 12 to 17 April with media day viewing on 11 April.