Here in the United States, when you imagine a taxi, you probably think about a yellow four-door sedan. In Japan, the image is pretty similar; however, the taxis there will be getting a significant update with what Toyota is calling the “taxi of the future.”
The new taxis seem to be a hybrid between a sedan and a minivan. They will come with a high roof, low floor, and sliding doors. With these features, there will be enough room for a wheelchair, making the new design ideal for elderly passengers and families with small children.
Toyota hopes to put its new taxi on the road in Japan sometime next year with the help of the Japan Federation of Hire-Taxi Associations. Toyota cars have been used as taxis since 1936 when the first model AA sedans rolled off the factory floor.
With this new taxi, Toyota hopes to improve the overall taxi experience and industry. It said it hopes to work with taxi drivers to “collaborate on experimental business approaches that make use of automated-driving technology.”
Toyota says that with some automated technology in a taxi, it would open up more opportunities for people who currently cannot be taxi drivers, such as those with disabilities or younger inexperienced drivers
During the 2016 Rio Olympics you may have noticed a commercial from Toyota that showed a medal ceremony and everyone joining hands. While you might think, “This looks like the Olympics,” only official Olympic sponsors can use the Olympic insignia and name. Toyota will get this honor next year, so in the meantime, we get a glimpse into Toyota’s “friendship tournament.”
This ad, called “Stand Together” not only celebrates the Olympic spirit, but is also a way to raise money for those in need. Toyota is encouraging people to share their own videos of people holding hands with the hashtag #LetsJoinHands. For every video, Toyota will then donate $20 to United Way, up to $250,000. The user-generated content may also be mixed together to create a new videos.
Jack Hollis, group VP-marketing for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., said, “We believe, as our founder did, in the ‘power of togetherness’ and athletics is an amazing example of the power of teamwork. While we do not compete at the highest levels of sport on the playing field, we celebrate the spirit of collaboration every day, whether it is within the walls of Toyota, or in our interaction with our guests.”
Toyota’s official Olympic sponsorship will begin in January and will run through the end of 2024. This will include the 2018 Winter Oympics in Pyeonchange, South Korea; the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo; the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing; and the 2024 Summer Olympics.