Toyota’s inching its tentacles into just about every facet of future-forward living. The Prius, of course, has become a household term synonymous with hybrid transportation; then there was the pollution-eating flower; and now, believe it or not, Toyota’s hopped on the prefab housing train.
From the earliest inceptions of prefab housing, such as the Lustron, to recent prefab designers like Andrew Maynard, a fundamental idea behind prefab manufacturing has been to use the auto industry as a model for the mass-production of houses (which may be the only viable rationale for this being a logical transition for Toyota). Though scoring a little below par on sexiness, the Toyota prefab designs – much like the Prius – earn their cred from high marks on sturdy quality for affordable prices, and specialized high-tech offerings.
According to the Toronto Star:
“A smart key similar to the car key you don’t need to take out of your pocket to unlock your Toyota opens and closes the front door. A mechanism for reducing engine noise and tremors is installed under the floor to quiet upstairs shakes. Car paint-job skills deliver even scratch-resistant coating on walls.”
The steel-framed Toyota prefabs leave the assembly factory 85% complete; in half a day, the modules get stacked into place with a crane, and it’s nearly done. The company offers various sizes and designs, with an average family home comprising 12 modules and coming in at just under $225,000. At this time, the company has no plans to manufacture for overseas markets, so if you want to live in a Toyota house, you’ll have to move to Japan. (You’ll also have to like these cookie-cutter “cottage” designs.) On the plus side, Toyota’s prefabs are all steel-frame construction and thus made to withstand the heavy earthquakes that occur frequently in Japan.
While we don’t love the aesthetic of these prefab homes, we do envy Japan in that it has a major industrial manufacturer working in this market right now. If only American manufacturers were so forward-thinking.