Exclusive: Lexus design boss shuns over-styling for ‘the basics’

LEAD Simon Humphries w LEXUS LBX - MILAN 2023

In this exclusive interview, Toyota and Lexus head of design Simon Humphries tells Car Design News about an active decision to go “back to basics” with the design process

In the last decade, Toyota and particularly Lexus designers, have been accused by many of ‘overdoing it’ on exterior design. But according to Simon Humphries, head of design at Toyota and Lexus since 2018, that is now changing. In charge of the look, feel and function of 10.1 million new vehicles sold in 2022 – the Toyota Group is the biggest carmaker in the world by some margin ahead of VW Group’s 7.85 million – Humphries has a very big job indeed.

As the order books open, from £29,995 in the UK, for Lexus’s European-focused 4190mm-long LBX small premium crossover, Car Design News can share an exclusive chat with the affable but focused 56-year old Brit about the decidedly calmer design from Toyota’s prestige marque. Read on to hear more on his new, more restrained design philosophy, the importance of discussing tough decisions with Toyota senior management in Japanese, swearing in English and avoiding ‘Pink Floyd’ grilles.

Car Design News: The LBX is the most pared-back Lexus design for years. Did you explore anything more extreme during its design development? 

Simon Humphries: I’m trying to get away from over-styling, get back to basics and ask what’s fundamentally necessary. A great stance, nice width, assume it’s going to be good-handling, because it is, so it looks like it’s safe, all those type of things. And a design that five-to-ten years later you don’t think ‘Oh god, I wish I hadn’t done that’. In a lot of ways, we held back and concentrated on the fundamentals, even on the interior. Screens are

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