Fukuichi will retain his role as the overall head of design for Toyota, Lexus and Scion, and will assume his new position at the head of Lexus and on its board on April 1 (no fooling). This is going to be an interesting move for fans of design to watch, as Fukuichi has repeatedly been mentioned as a designer that enjoys pushing the envelope and experimenting. He is, after all, the man responsible for designing the most awesomely odd minivan of the 1990s, the mid-engined, rear-drive Toyota Previa, and more recently, he signed off on the controversial Lexus LF-NX concept, which is said to presage a new production small crossover.
"Regarding changes in design, no one has 100 percent confidence," Fukuichi told Forbes back in January 2013. "No one can really say with pure certainty that, 'In two years, this will sell well.'" As Akio Toyoda continues to demand more assertive, edgier designs, it's that point of view that should make Fukuichi a valuable addition to Lexus, as it continues to challenge the competition from Germany.
Fukuichi replaces Kiotaka Ise, who will become the chief officer at Toyota Research and Development, according to Automotive News.