Toyota Looking to Expand Stylish Prefab Homes Unit


Forget the fact that I lived in Japan and absolutely love its culture, I didn’t know that Toyota had a homes unit.  And they’ve been in the business of making homes for over twenty years!  The company adapts automobile manufacturing technology to build stylish, earthquake-resistant homes for sale within Japan.  The Toyota Homes unit accounts for only .5% of the company’s $262 billion in annual sales, and Toyota would like to beef that up a little bit.  Plus, with the roll-out of the plug-in hybrid beginning in 2010 (remember all that discussion here about solar homes and plug-in hybrids replacing gas stations?), Toyota would like to do more with their environmentally-friendly, prefabricated homes. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, Toyota Homes are built from six or more modules in under 45 days.  They have a conservative home model called the Smart Stage that sells for $200k.  It’s about a 1000 sf, two-story home.  There’s also a more expensive, custom-built 2600 sf home that sells for around $800k.  Toyota Homes are strong and guaranteed for about 60 years, which is twice the average lifespan of a home in Japan. 

As you might imagine, homeowners are also Toyota car owners. 

The company sold 5000 homes in 2006 and 4600 homes in 2007 (due to the housing slump).  But what’s interesting about that number is that it shows how effectively homes can be manufactured using the same techniques that are used in the auto industry.  And the Toyota Homes unit is profitable, too.  That’s some pretty incredible scale, if you ask me. 

Plus, imagine the purposeful relationship of a plug-in Prius, Toyota Home with solar panels, and technology that charges the car during off-peak hours.  If you can do this, you’re not only going to stick it to the oil man, but you’re going to stick it to the coal man, too.  I like those odds. 

[+] Toyota Throws More Weight Behind Homes Unit [WSJ]






Photo credits: Toyota Home Japan & Toyota Home Tokyo.

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  • Andrew Stone

    Preston, SWEET find! I had no idea either. Very cool!

    • Preston

      I know, the homes are all pretty incredible … it’d be nice to see prefab get to this level here in the U.S.

  • hello

    Any word of Toyota expanding this into the US market?


    • Preston

      Apparently they built a development of 50 homes near the Toyota truck plant in San Antonio, but that was just an experiment and I’m not sure if the above designs were used.

      The end of the WSJ article linked to above says that Toyota won’t think about expanding beyond Japan for a while. We’ll see though. Plans always change.

  • Jocelyn Shannon

    Bring them to Southern California. I’ll line up!

  • Anonymous

    Those prices are a bit iffy ‘cos that’s just the basic module then you need to add land price, fitting out etc. etc. double glazing, insulation (quite a novelty in a Japanese house)and they end up at twice the price. Most Japanese homes from the major builders are pre-fabricated it(s the usual way of building, Toyota are very small in the market, check out Sekisui, Misawa, Mitsui. You will also find the same house shapes – they get a bit boring after a while. Also a house here is only expected to last about 30 years recently some have gone to 50 years

  • mmcc

    I really like the look and feel of these designs – they are nicely modern but with occasional traditional elements (the pitches). If Toyota brings these to the U.S., though, I think they need to find a way to bring their price points down comparable to that of their cars –

  • Anonymous

    can you imagine a “Hummer House”


    Just a thought.

  • K

    Interesting styles, but the windows are too small for my taste. It doesn’t look like they open, either. I’m curious as to the houses’ energy efficiency.

  • YokohamaGaijin

    Panasonic homes are nicer and cost less.

  • manujarch

    Nice. Would like one for me.

  • dani3lle

    Great design but they`re a bit expensive

    • Preston

      Dani3lle – I like your website!

  • Kevan

    Great photo & journal find, Thx,
    “hummer house” love the comment~ adapting to the American lifestyle is what makes America. However, lets not throw the baby out with Texas bath water.
    mmcc is right on, the story book icon of home (box with gable roof) is something that still endears us.

  • acadmin

    Do you think Obama can help Ford retool and bring the housing market back to the US?

  • maris

    would appreciate information on purchasing for shipment to lebanon. need contacts if anyone can find. have been looking, but only found articles about Toyota prefabs. thanks

  • John Hughes

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  • Matocca22

    this is definately the way to go. my next house will be prefab and i would buy from Toyota if i could.

  • Tanaka

    You might want to add the financial benefit with staying with the same company that one gets in Japan. House, car, insurance, exc cuts down the price for everything. Something US companies cant do because of anti-monopoly laws. In our case, we had a similar home in Japan everything was the same company even the bank that held the loan down to the maker of every appliance as well as the maker of the air filters in the stove.
    It is the extreme of pre-fab.

    Yes re another post about houses expected to last only 30-50 years. It is hard to get a loan for a house over 15 years.

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