Toyota is really into customizable cars lately. Several weeks ago we saw the Toyota ME.WE concept, a very interesting car designed to encapsulate the individuality that future drivers may seek from their vehicles. As we reported last year, Toyota is taking a new spin on customizability with kid-friendly concepts. This year it’s the Camatte57s and the Camatte57s Sport, distinguished from each other only by their exterior.
In case you’re wondering about the name, let’s get that out of the way up front: Camatte stands for “caring”, 57 refers to the number of body panels that make up the cars’ exterior, and the s at the end apparently means “touch” (perhaps from the Japanese sawaru, which means “to touch”).
We’ll see the Camatte57s concepts later this week at the 2013 International Tokyo Toy Show. They’re actually the sequels to a Camatte concept shown last year, but the new versions offer more body panels and they come in two new flavors. The regular Camatte57s gets sky-blue vintage body panels reminiscent of an old Model A, while the Sport looks more like a modern day roadster. Both cars look really sweet, and I’m sure that any kid would be happy to trade up their Big Wheel for one of these bad boys.
Unfortunately, however cool they may be, neither Camatte57s concept is likely to ever see serious production. At least, not without some serious changes. The Camatte57s is not street legal, so it would have to be driven exclusively up and down the driveway or on a dedicated track. Not exactly convenient in the eyes of your average parents.
Even though the Camatte57s likely won’t see actual production, I can still appreciate the concept because it’s so rare to involve kids in the automotive industry. Really, ignoring kids is a huge mistake because it’s proven that the best car salesmen (or saleswomen) are the ones that involve the wife and kids, not just the father figure. Drivers with families want their children involved, so Toyota is definitely taking a step in the right direction.
For those of you who’d like to know a bit more about specs, the Camatte57s is all-electric and measures about 3m long by 1.5m wide, so it’s not exactly tiny. It features a 1+2 seating arrangement that allows the child to sit in front while mom and dad sit in the rear. The seating is configured so that it’s easy for parents to handle either steering or the gas and brake pedals while the child handles the other… According to the press release, this way “youngsters can make an early start on developing their driving skills and appropriate, safe places, off the public highway.”
Or perhaps Toyota is simply poking fun at rivals Nissan who are betting everything on an all-electric future? As the main driving force behind hybrid cars, Toyota is famously skeptical about the near-term prospects of pure EVs. Perhaps making toy electric car concepts is just another way of making this argument.
All in all, the Camatte57s is a really neat concept that I’m happy to see returning from Toyota. If you’d like to see the kid-friendly concept in action, check out the video below to see a team assemble the body panels on a regular Camatte57s. As you can see, it really is Legos meets Big Wheel meets high-tech unaffordable super-toy. No doubt this will be one of the star attractions of the 2013 International Tokyo Toy Show.leave a response, trackback from your own site