Toyota Camatte Concept Cars Put Kids in the Driving Seat … Literally

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Toyota’s chairman has recently and famously declared that Toyota needs to start focusing on the fun factor again. The 86 collaboration with Subaru is evidence of this.

But what could be more fun that toys? Ask my kids, and you know what the answer will be — “not a lot!”

So this is why you won’t find the latest Toyota concept car, the Camatte, gracing the halls of a motor trade convention like the Paris or Detroit motor shows. Nor will you find it in a Pebble Beach-style concours d’elegance.

No, the Camatte makes its debut at the Tokyo Toy Show 2012, being held from June 14th to 17th at Tokyo’s Big Sight.

Now remember the Camatte is about one thing – fun. So you won’t find a revolutionary new hybrid power train, or self-driving tech here.

So what’s going to excite the kids here?

Well, a couple of things. First let’s start with the one that has the lowest parental fear factor:

As you can see from these pics, the whole body of the car can be switched out to give the car different looks. If your kids think Transformers are cool, just wait till they get their hands on your Camatte.

Toyota Camatte concept car
Toyota Camatte concept car

And now for the feature that will have kids salivating and parents freaking out: As you see the seating arrangement is 1 + 2 with the driver in the center. So far, so McLaren F1. Now for the Camatte’s party trick. One that Gordon Murray never thought of in his wildest dreams for the F1.

The central drivers seat can be adjusted. Adjusted so far that a child can comfortably drive the Camette.

Of course, when I say “comfortably”, I’m obviously referring to physical comfort. Not the psychological comfort of the passengers. Nor the comfort and safety of other road users.

Now, of course, even in its most playful moment, Toyota isn’t going to suggest that a child be let loose on the streets driving a car like this. That would be monumentally irresponsible. It would make “sticking” accelerator pedals seem quite benign in comparison.

No, Toyota very considerately equips the white-knuckled passenger parent with full controls in the back seat, allowing the responsible adult to wrest control of the vehicle from her toddler just in time to avert death, destruction and stratospheric insurance premiums.

Practical, it is not.

But the Camatte is a reflection of the new side of Toyota. A Toyota that is willing to think outside the box and be a little bit, well, silly. And perhaps that’s just what it needs to do in a world where Korean and Chinese makers are catching up, and it gets harder and harder to be the car in front even with all the kaizen in the world.

Source: (Japanese-language)

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3 Responses to “Toyota Camatte Concept Cars Put Kids in the Driving Seat … Literally”

  1. Eugene Hill says:

    How much will they cost ? when will they be on the market ? Will they go at least 30MPH ? When I saw this Camatte I thought this I would like if only for the store and Dr. office visits we don’t have a car but this looks like it would fit in .Easy to run not a lot of fancy gadgets were you can’t even find the winsheild wipers it looks like a lot of fun.

    • Hi Eugene

      Well this is more of a concept car than any sort of pre-production taster. You won’t see any of these on the streets.

      Toyota is trying two things here: First to change it’s image from “well-made but boring” to “well-made and fun”. Secondly, particularly in Japan, but to a lesser extent around the world, cars are becoming less aspirational for young people than they used to be. Now for many younger people when pressed to choose between their iPhone with constant FB and Twitter access and a car would choose the iPhone. Toyota is seeing this trend and wants to get the younger generation excited about owning a car and enjoying the experience of driving.


  2. Platehunter says:

    Once you get over the strange look, you do start to see how it could be a very practical (and fun) addition to the family. It might even do kids good to get them more used to driving cars from an early age, rather than waiting until they are pent-up adolescents before letting them loose on the roads.

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