A Glimpse At Japan's Cars Of The Future
While visiting the industrial city of Nagoya, home to many of the major Japanese automakers, we signed up for a tour of the Toyota factory.
There were fairly strict rules for visiting Toyota. For example, we were only allowed to bring one bus to the facility and no cameras or cell phones were permitted inside the building.
Our tour began with a brief movie of the main processes of making the Prius, which involves stamping the various metal parts, welding them together, painting them, and the final assembly. Next our guide brought us into the plant where we watched the final assembly of various Prius models. Witnessing the efficiency of these fine-tuned assembly lines was amazing. During our visit, there was a break for the workers and all of the lights were turned off to save electricity. Toyota’s cost-saving measures are legendary and quite ingenious.
Once we finished the tour we were driven to the Kaikan Museum where the newest Toyotas models are displayed – as well as some of the designs of the future. The most interesting prototypes were those designed for single drivers. The philosophy is that we have individual phones today, why not individual vehicles tomorrow?
The last car we looked at appeared to be a cross between a very small car and a motorcycle with two tires on the front and a single tire in back. Touted for mothers with one child, students, seniors, etc., it turns like a bike but is enclosed for comfort.
After our tour, we made our way back to the Ship and prepared for a relaxing evening at Home. Tomorrow was going to be filled with plenty of good, old-fashioned walking through the ancient shrines and temples of Shingu.