What is it? It's a new consumer lifestyle concept, part of a rather disparate family of goods - WiLL Tour (package holidays), the WiLL PC (a computer), WiLL beer, the WiLL fridge and WiLL Clearmist (a deodorant). These are made and marketed in a co-operative between several companies, the Virtual Venture Company (VVC). But, sadly, only in Japan.
So what's VVC for? VVC is a new division of Toyota set up to attract younger buyers, particularly women, like Lexus was set up to capture a share of the premium market. It's all about creating a new brand. The WiLL-branded goods are produced and promoted by all the companies involved, including Panasonic, Matsushita Electric and Asahi as well as Toyota. Toyota wants more companies to come aboard, for WiLL-branded clothes, accessories and so on, all available from - guess what? - the WiLL shop, at www.willshop.com.
That's enough about the marketing strategy. What's the car itself like? Underneath the pumpkin-like shell, it's a Yaris 1.3 automatic. It's a saloon, with a very distinct boot, because that's what young Japanese women want. It has a full-length folding sunroof, as well - in fact, it's a bit like a modern 2CV. That's no coincidence, because that's what the project chief owns. There's a Cinderella story in there somewhere...
So it's definitely a girl's car, then? Yes. One of the major design criteria was that it must be easy to get big shopping bags in and out. There's even a magazine rack inside, and the cabin is designed for hanging out, with a sofa-like rear seat. It will appeal to the sort of grown girl who collects Hello Kitty stationery and pencil cases - there may be a small market for it amongst Jap-kitsch enthusiasts in the West.
WiLL I be able to buy one? WiLL products are destined for the Japanese market only, so unless you get a personal import, no. Unlike Hello Kitty stationery, you'll be unlikely to see cheap rip-off versions on your local market stall.