Dentsu’s Yasuharu Sasaki (left) and Kazuhiro Shimura
Small is beautiful for Dentsu
The Dentsu seminar yesterday featured a remarkable car designed by Toyota with input and development from Dentsu’s creative director Kazuhiro Shimura. The Toyota I-Road is a one-seater electric car with a top speed of 60kph that leans as it corners but cannot fall over.
“We started by doing a study of the market potential of the vehicle, and we found that people loved the driving experience but hated the fact that they had to pay full price for a parking space that was way too big for the car,” Shimura said. “And they really didn’t like having to pay the full rate which is very expensive as parking space is really hard to find.”
Simultaneously the company was researching ways to make the vehicles more attractive to consumers, including a system called Road Kitchen, which allowed owners to customise their car with 3D-printed parts. “These were good projects,” said Shimura, “but they weren’t hugely popular, and more to the point, they weren’t going to change people’s lives, and they were not related to our core mission of bringing freedom to urban streets.”
At this point he and his team went back to the original vision and realised that parking was the key issue. Given that the cars are so small, they could be parked in spaces that wouldn’t normally regarded as parking spots. “We created a network of small spaces around Tokyo and the distances the cars were being used for increased by a factor of 10.”