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Toyota wants your family to keep the wood-bodied Setsuna for a century

Toyota Setsuna concept
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Toyota is attending the annual Milan Design Week for the first time ever to display a brand new concept called Setsuna.

Built largely out of wood, the Setsuna — a word that means “moment” in Japanese — is designed to stay in the same family for at least a century. Toyota predicts that, over time, the car will become priceless because of the sentimental value that will become associated with it. A 100-year meter installed in the cockpit helps future generations keep track of how long ago it was built.

The body panels, the frame, the floors, and the seats are all crafted out of several different types of wood. Notably, the exterior body panels are made using Japanese cedar, and the floors are made from Japanese birch. Toyota explains it chose not to use sheet metal because wood lasts a long time if it’s properly taken care of, and because its color and texture both change in different environments. Ultimately, the Setsuna should develop a unique, inimitable patina that reflects decades of use.

To achieve a clean, streamlined look, Toyota assembled the roadster without any nails or screws using a traditional Japanese joinery technique called okuriari.

With room for two passengers, the Setsuna stretches 119 inches long, 58 inches wide, and just 38 inches tall. It’s powered by an all-electric drivetrain, but technical specifications — such as what it’s made up of and how far it can drive on a single charge — haven’t been published yet.

The Setsuna is merely a design study built for the Milan Design Week, and Toyota isn’t currently planning on bringing it to production. Similarly, there’s no indication that the company is looking at ways to introduce a series-produced car made out of wood.

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Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
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