Toyota Camatte concept debuts at Tokyo Toy Show

This charming, retro-looking contraption is the Toyota Camatte, a real car that ToMoCo unveiled today at the Tokyo Toy Show. The venue may seem odd, but the concept’s goal is to spark children’s interest in cars, a noble cause if there ever was one.¬†

They look as if they could be a new generation of Nissan‘s boutique cars of the late 80s, except the two photos above are of the same car. Every body panel is interchangeable, allowing for not only quick color swaps but entirely new body styles. This rugged looking thing is called the Daichi, a popular boys’ name that means “great wisdom” or “great earth.”

Both the Daichi and the Sora, which means “sky,” feature a triangular seating pattern that puts the driver front and center. The design intends to foster communication between driver and passengers, so¬†parents can teach children the joys of driving. The seats and pedals can even be adjusted so that children can operate them while leaving important duties like steering to the parent.

Akio Toyoda appears to be on a mission to rekindle Japan’s waning car enthusiasm. While machines like the neo-86 are great for anoraks that argue over the difference between front and rear wheel drive, what the culture really needs is to get the kids involved. In recent years Japan’s youth have been gravitating towards cell phones and social networking, putting a damper on the nation’s once-vibrant car scene. The Camatte has definite appeal, and we would have killed to have something like this when we were kids. Fun to Drive, Again indeed.

[Images: Toyota]

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8 Responses to Toyota Camatte concept debuts at Tokyo Toy Show

  1. dankan said:

    I don’t know if it is remotely realistic, but the idea itself is cool and shows some very different thinking. Now if only the sense of fun that Akio seems to be going on about could filter down to the next Corolla, then we might have something to really talk about.

  2. Nigel said:

    A kid needs to see this at around five or younger.
    The will to find out more kicks in after that. I think Toyota is on the right track.

  3. Brownie said:

    they look like 1:18 scale models in the photo, very neat!

  4. Toyotageek said:

    Saw this online the otherday. Interesting concept, but would probably never fly in the US. Might just happen in Japan. The Japanese people seem a lot more hands-on oriented with kids than we do in the states. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes… If nothing else, I want a diecast version. ;-)

  5. cesariojpn said:

    Like a big Meccano builders set or Airfix plastic set. Hell, get James May to promote this car. He’d have an orgasm with this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qj4gTDGVJp4

  6. Lincoln Stax said:

    I assume this is an electric car? I love the idea behind this. I think it looks good either way and could be a very fun commuter.

  7. Nate said:

    There is nothing even remotely original about this concept. It looks like a Smart Fortwo humped a 60’s VW dunebuggy. “Quick color swaps”?! The video shows a team of around a dozen of the Toyota factory engineers that designed this thing in the first place taking what appears to be 10-15 minutes to swap out the panels. Just imagine how long it would take you and your half disinterested 12 year old to do that in the driveway on Saturday morning. And adjustable pedals for the kids to use while I steer? Forget the “My Prius just accelerated on it’s own!” excuse. “My kid thought that the gas was the brake because he mixes up his left and right. Please don’t sue me.” This thing is less an example of forward thinking that helps the industry and more of an example of why it’s teetering on the brink of disaster.

  8. gary said:

    I love it ,its a great idea to get kids back into the car instead of staring into a cell or computer screen. The mention above of the dune buggy craze makes me think that it could be attractive to a larger interest group other than young kids, a way to create something. I see it suited to the wider car culture,the build your own dyi guys would go for it in a big way, Especially the ones lacking the tools and experience to build something from scratch.the off the shelve body market would be huge.Keep it cheep and send it to the states please Gary

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