Akino Concept - luxury, unconventional, compact people mover
By Mike Hanlon
October 4, 2005
October 5, 2005 Chrysler has released more details of the Akino Concept it plans to debut at the Tokyo Motor Show. The original sketches of the vehicle were covered here, but with more detail and imagery now available, it’s worth another look as the car is seeking to push the boundaries of conventional thinking. The Akino was designed with a small super-efficient powertrain to enable the designer freedom to create a new solution for future transportation and the result is a compact car with a roomy and unconventional luxury interior – it has a single door on the driver side, and two doors on the passenger side that open in opposite directions, allowing the interior to have a booth-like rear seat with a swiveling passenger seat.
Design The vehicle name comes from Interior and Exterior Designer, Akino Tsuchiya, a 37-year-old who was born in Japan and is based at the Chrysler Group's Pacifica Design Studios in Carlsbad, California. The meaning of the name Akino is "autumn field." The feeling of serenity that is evoked with these words is a theme present throughout the vehicles design.
"I wanted the soothing, comforting feeling of a living room on the interior all surrounded by an elegant form that reflects the Chrysler brand," Tsuchiya said of her concept vehicle. "We very much wanted a feeling of being at home on the road." Tsuchiya added that for those in Japan, driving on a weekend or free time is an experience of being together through family outings or travelling with friends.
Oasis The Chrysler Akino concept has a single door on the driver side, and two doors on the passenger side that open in opposite directions. This arrangement allows the interior to have a booth-like rear seat with a swiveling passenger seat. The roof features an unusual interlocking form toward the rear which punctuates the design and provides more headroom for the rear seat passengers.
"In the Chrysler Group, we take pride in employing the best designers in the industry," said Joe Eberhardt, Executive Vice President Global Sales Marketing and Service. "The fresh thinking and diversity in our design team enables us to develop vehicles that answer the specific demands of the varied world markets in which we operate. While the Chrysler Akino may be a concept at this stage, it shows how we can meet the rational needs of customers in our international markets, while infusing the product with all the emotion of the Chrysler brand," he said.
According to Tsuchiya, the unique seating configuration provides an oasis which is designed for a safe, comfortable and social environment to experience travel on an entirely new level.
The selection of materials and colors used in the interior are composed of natural and recyclable synthetic fabrics: bamboo flooring, a throw rug, lighting sconce, mood lighting and even throw pillows.
The driver and passenger front seats are treated like arm chairs and the rear seat like that of a sofa in a traditional living room setting. Color is used to separate the working space from the living room area also – a Salon Blue Suede in the driver and cockpit area with a Cream Suede on the passenger and rear seat surfaces with a similarly colored lower door trim.
The exterior features a side glass that has an unusual graphic breakup while the ?rear glass is specially coated with texture to give passengers a sense of privacy ?and comfort.
"We wanted an artful, sculptural and graceful form that was influenced by artwork and architecture," Tsuchiya said. "Refinement is at the heart of the Chrysler brand. The combination of those brand attributes and artistic grace helped us to bring much of the home into the automobile."