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Toyota's Fun-Vii proves the future of auto sector is more than green

Nissan's LEAF is Japan's Car of the Year, but Fun-Vii concept car is the automobile of tomorrow.

Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corp., introduces the company’s Fun-Vii concept vehicle during a preview event ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show 2011 in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 (Photo: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg/Getty)

Nissan’s LEAF electric car has been crowned Car of the Year at the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show, which has this month attracted 176 exhibitors from 12 countries.

According to Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, the popularity of the LEAF indicates “zero-emission vehicles can clearly be competitive alternatives to conventional ones.” But judging from concept cars on display at the event, vehicles in the near future will need to be much more than green to command market share.

Just prior to the Japanese motor show, Toyota, which knows a thing or two about marketing Mother Nature-friendly cars, introduced its Fun-Vii concept. And it, theoretically anyway, can be green or any other colour you can imagine.

Built with a body of flexible OLED screens, the idea behind this concept vehicle is to allow consumers to change the appearance of their rides with a simple click of a button (imagine changing a screen saver).

As AutoGuide.com points out, it is almost pointless to try to describe with words where Toyota plans to take the driving experience when you can see the company show off the concept’s smartphone integration, augmented-reality gaming, holographic digital assistant and vehicle-to-vehicle networking system in the official Fun-Vii video clip.

Other applications of this technology-in-progress, of course, go far beyond mobile advertising. Indeed, with the ability to broadcast messages from its various parts, the Fun-Vii could provide a powerful outlet for road rage.