To say that 2011 has been a tough year for Toyota is an understatement. Business was stalled when the March earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, and the suffering continues with the current flooding in Thailand.
Despite the setbacks, Toyota projects nothing but optimism at the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show with the introduction of vehicles aimed at bringing the fun back in driving.
"I believe if it is not fun then it is not a car," Toyota chief executive Akio Toyoda said. "There are many different ways of travelling from A to B, but a car must have an emotional presence that inspires drivers to enjoy the feeling of driving."
Toyota unveiled the FT-EV III ultra-compact electric vehicle, the FCV-R sedan, and the Fun-Vii concept car that predicts the future of motoring.
To further boost Toyota's thrust for "fun driving" while the industry is recovering from various disasters, Toyoda said the car company is taking inspiration from Doraemon. After all, the Japanese cartoon character is known for making unusual but fun gadgets to keep his friends out of trouble or to save them from problems.
And while the global market is after fun and fuel-efficient driving, Toyoda is hopeful there will always be a handful of car enthusiasts who will remain passionate about sports car as Toyota has also just unveiled the 86.
Check out the video below to witness the activities at Toyota's booth in the Tokyo Motor Show and listen to excerpts from Toyoda's speech. It's in Japanese so you might have to squint a bit to read the translation.