Towards tomorrow


Toyota is heading towards tomorrow with technology. In addition to the usual run-through of learning about the technical aspects of cars at an auto show, Toyota has created an interactive gallery to further showcase their products.

Upon entering the gallery, the Prius C Technology is the first car that you see. After inspecting the vehicle, you can use the Gear VR Oculus Rift. This virtual reality headset comes with a video game controller, allowing the user to play a three-level game to collect points while navigating the Prius C.

The second car was the Scion iM, engaging you with digital painting. Next to the vehicle, the viewer chooses one of three murals, and with touchscreen paint cans, they can choose the colour, size, and transparency of the brush to paint the landscapes in a graffiti-style experience. Upon finishing their drawing, the user can email themselves the image.

The third car was the RAV4 hybrid technology package. You have the option to choose one of three backdrops to take a photo with the car.

The final car was the Prius hybrid, a larger technology-enabled vehicle that will be available later this month.

Cyril Dimitris, VP sales and marketing at Toyota, says that this is the first time the company has inserted their vehicles in a mall with an interactive gallery. The reasoning behind this decision was to “enhance customer experience by creating a fun, interactive, informative environment infused with technology”.

“We wanted to bridge the offline and online gap. Research showed the path to purchase was changing with technology as people wanted to see and touch the vehicles,” says Dimitris. “You interact with the activities firsthand in a non-pressure, non-sales environment, which creates a different experience. It allows the company to diversify the content. By creating this gallery, people experience the delight and excitement of the brand.”

Each model on display is from this year.

Each of the cars on the second floor is equipped with the STAR Safety System, which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, dynamic cruise control, and lane departure alert with steering assist, just to name a few features. Excluding the Scion iM, the cars are all push to start.

These four vehicles are located on the second level of Square One. In the centre court of the mall, Toyota is showcasing four other cars: the Corolla, the Yaris Sedan, and the Prius V. According to Sheri Helman, a public relations consultant from Toyota Canada, these vehicles are the core products “geared towards the urban millennial driver”.

Every weekend starting April 15, people will be able to take test drives of the six cars in the Square One parking lot. People will also be able to earn air miles each time. These test drives will be available for one month.

The gallery officially launched on March 5. It will run until the end of May.

This article has been corrected from the print edition. The name of the Yaris Sedan has been clarified, and the vehicles on display, described as Toyota’s “core products”, are in fact only the core products among those that target the “urban millennial driver”. A notice will be printed in the March 21, 2016 issue.