Toyota opens auto theme park in Tokyo

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TOKYO--Toyota made its entry into the world of theme parks this week with the ribbon-cutting ceremony on its automotive entertainment facility and showroom called Mega Web on Tokyo Bay. The 24,000-square-meter (258,240-square-foot) facility boasts three pavilions and two rides and was built at a cost of about $130 million.

Toyota is planning to use the theme park, which has 140 cars on display, as a place to market its latest models and to build the Toyota brand name. The company said that the park should help in its marketing efforts with younger consumers.

The five areas of Toyota's Mega Web are: Toyota City Showcase pavilion for present auto products; a History Garage pavilion; a Future World pavilion, Ride One with a 1.4 km driving courses to test ride new cars and E-com Ride, which is an electric vehicle ride. The History Garage will have classic cars from Japan, the U.S. and Europe.

The company is expecting about three million visitors a year. The park is located near a shopping mall, concert hall and restaurants.

"This facility will help add a little light to the dark state of the Japanese economy," Toyota President Hiroshi Okuda said.

Copyright March 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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