More renowned for its prowess with wheeled vehicles, Toyota Motor Corp. is increasing its seaborne fleet with the launch of a new leisure boat, the Ponam-35.
But the 11.95-meter cruiser is still related to the car manufacturer’s mainstream products as its two V8-cylinder engines are adapted versions of the 4.5-liter V8 diesel engine that can be found in the Toyota Land Cruiser.
And while elsewhere it might be considered unusual for a car firm to dabble in pleasure boats, several of Japan’s other major auto firms also have boat divisions.
Nissan Motor Co. and Suzuki Motor Corp. both build boats, although Yamaha Motor Corp. is seen as the leading domestic firm in the sector.
Toyota has not been deterred by declining consumer spending at home and is looking to tap into the Chinese market with the launch of the Ponam-35, which takes its name from Waipounamu, the word in Maori mythology that means whale.
Weighing 10 tons and with a width of 3.94 meters, the hull of the vessel is made of rigid aluminium alloy and has a capacity of 12 people.
The Ponam-35 is the first in a new class of vessels that Toyota plans to introduce and has set an annual sales target of 15 boats.
The boat also benefits from the car firm’s expertise in form-modelling, required to create the complex curved surfaces used in the construction of cars.
The line of the gunwale flows back from the bow and meets with the elegant design of the cabin windows.
Inside, the cabin has been designed to make passengers’ movements easy and is decorated in contrasting black and white, with additions of deep blue and silver.
The cabin includes a five-seat sofa and storage space, while the owner’s private room has a bed and storage areas.
The galley emphasises functionality and comes with a refrigerator, microwave oven, sink and storage areas.
Designed to be operated in inshore waters, the price tag on the boat is Y59 million (€543,076).