Carmakers in Japan have for many years now seen reduced interest in cars and driving among the younger generation. Senior executives in the companies today grew up during an age when there was pleasure in driving and owning a car, especially a sporty model was something that they strived for in their younger days.
Hoping to revive that interest, Toyota is encouraging a love of cars and the fun of driving among children through a travel-oriented display at the upcoming Tokyo Toy Show. The Toyota Camatte Journey exhibit enables children to drive a 3-seat concept car through images of scenery, such as cherry-blossom lined roads, projected onto a surrounding screen. The vehicle has stickers from various travel destinations attached to the outer panels and is equipped with a travel bag on the back of the car.
The concept car, measuring 3.075 metres long, is a new version of the Toyota Camatte Petta which was displayed at the same event last year. Powered by electric motors, its top speed is limited to 5 km/h. It has one front seat for the children drivers and two rear seats – one for a family member and one for a staff member to ensure safety. Cushions also line the straight-running course.
Through this hands-on experience, children can learn the positions of the accelerator and brake pedals. They drive 7 metres into the exhibit and then reverse to the start.
Toyota has exhibited a series of Camatte concepts at the Toy Show each year since 2012 with the aim of inspiring the next-generation of motorists. The name ‘Camatte’ is based on the Japanese word for ‘caring’, signifying ‘caring for others’ and ‘caring for cars’. ‘Petta’ is taken from a Japanese onomatopoeic phrase meaning ‘to stick’, reflecting the travel items stuck to the vehicle.
“The main concept behind ‘Camatte’ is to convey the joy and dreams of motor vehicles to the next generation,” a Toyota spokesperson said. “We hope to expand the base of car fans by exhibiting various types of Camatte vehicles every year and creating an opportunity for parents and children to enjoy being in contact with and talking about cars together.”