Toyota, which is based in Japan, believes it can capitalize on the nostalgia of buying a toy from a small toy store and the popularity of driving small toy cars.
Toyota has told financial analysts it believes toy cars are far more popular in Japan than the U.S., suggesting there is a chance GoKarts can prove popular around the world, which is rare in an industry dominated by the auto, electronics and entertainment sectors.
“We plan to expand into multiple markets that fit the brand’s character of simplicity, fun and whimsical,” Toyota spokeswoman Reona Shiomura said in a statement, declining to give specific details about the company’s plans.
Toyota’s U.S. sales have fallen over the past two years, although the Toyota and Lexus brands still generate higher average transaction prices than the mass brands. Toy sales across the U.S. and Europe fell to about $700 billion in 2016 from about $800 billion a decade earlier.
Toyota is likely to expand GoKarts in the U.S. to appeal to drivers who have had trouble parking in cities with crowded roads.
A GoKart costs about $500, including the battery, electrical and other parts needed to drive it, according to Toyota. The battery alone costs about $150, while the motor costs $90, according to Toyota. A GoKart is powered by a remote-controlled motor.
Toyota hasn’t released a price for its GoKart.
Toyota is trying to pull off its experiment as it looks for growth opportunities after flooding its factory in Mexico with workers to increase output of the widely popular hybrid car Camry in the U.S. The Camry competes in the mid-sized car market and is Toyota’s largest car.
GoKarts look similar to toy remote cars, which are popular with children in Japan and the U.S. Toy store owners are attracted to GoKarts because of their novelty and they have been found to have higher profit margins.