Yes, it's a complete write-off, but...
Safety continues to play a huge role in automotive development, perhaps more so than ever. The key reason why self-driving cars are coming into existence is to eliminate crashes, injuries, and fatalities. The technology is still a few years out but automakers are continuing to advance safety systems in today's passenger vehicles. For Toyota, there's a lot to learn from crashes that have already happened, such as the case of this totaled Supra, which has a new special edition for the 2022 model year.
One look at it and it's evidently clear the car is a complete write-off, but instead of sending it to the crusher Toyota has given it a so-called "second life" as a training vehicle for technicians. It's currently being used within the Toyota Approved Repairer network in the UK. Completely stripped to its bare metal, techs are able to see the several types of materials that make up its skeleton.
For example, the Supra's aluminum front end aims to reduce weight and contributes towards keeping the center of gravity in the middle of the car. The various types of build materials in the body construction are also visible as part of this automotive autopsy. The offside rear and nearside front corners were cut away to expose the underpinnings. Toyota says this is the first time it's ever done something like this and it's already paying off.
Technicians can now easily study each area of the stripped, sectioned, and prepped car that also now has color coding highlights to mark the different build materials. For example, there are three types of aluminum, one mild steel, five high-strength steels, and three ultra-high-strength steels.
"There are so many learnings we can take from this," says Paul Collins, Toyota UK's Body and Paint Project and Reporting Manager. "We can showcase how these materials have an influence on both the safety and performance of the vehicle. We want the technicians to understand the different types of materials, where the transfer of energy occurs, and where the vehicle's panels can and can't be sectioned. It's a great visual aid."
Toyota has never done something quite like this before and it even had to ask the insurance company of the Supra's previous owner if it'd be willing to donate the car's remains for research purposes.