Today, Toyota announced a wide-ranging new initiative called Kinto, which will see the company expand into ride sharing, carpooling, subscription-based leasing and more.
Kinto isn’t a single program, but a package of four separate programs meant to expand the company’s presence in the European market and find new ways to make car travel accessible to people who might not be able to afford the full cost of a new vehicle.
The new announcement is part of the company’s adapt to a car industry that’s shifting away from a model based on ownership and toward one focused on usage and accessibility.
Toyota has announced four new programs for the European market, which it has collectively branded as ‘Kinto,’ which will include a new short term rental app, a car pool service, and two streamlined leasing options
The first major part of the program will be Kinto Share, a car-sharing service similar to Zipcar or Car2Go, which will let subscribers book cars by the hour or by the day using a smartphone app.
Share is an expanded version of Yuko, a limited program Toyota has been operating in Dublin, Copenhagen, and a small selection of other European cities as a pilot.
Through Yuko, customers were able to pick up cars from self-service locations for €8 per hour, or €55 per day with included perks like comprehensive insurance, 50km worth of free gasoline, and complimentary street parking passes.
Toyota hasn’t detailed the pricing plans for Kinto Share, but it’s likely to be in the same range.
Another part of the Kinto family of programs is Kinto Join, which will let users connect through a smartphone app to find potential carpool partners traveling to general areas or specific destinations.
Toyota will compete with Zipcar and other short term car rental services with Kinto Share, which will let subscribers take out a hybrid Toyota vehicle for an hourly or daily charge
Toyota says this feature will also support group programs for employees at large companies who might want to coordinate daily commutes.
The third part of the Kinto initiative is Kinto Flex, which will let customers lease cars through an ongoing subscription plan rather than signing a limited term agree for one specific car.
The last program is Kinto One, a comprehensive leasing program that will bundle full car payments, insurance, and maintenance costs into a single monthly payment to help streamline the leasing process.
‘Kinto is part of our strategy to grow our total European business,’ Toyota Motor Europe CEO Johan van Zyl, President said in a statement announcing the new services.
Kinto Share is based on an earlier test program called Yuko (pictured above), which Toyota operated in a small selection of European cities including Dublin and Copenhagen
‘In markets where it can be viable and sustainable, adding mobility services to our traditional business model will allow us to respond to new customer needs and meet the emerging mobility requirements of cities and regions.’
WHAT IS TOYOTA KINTO?
Toyota Kinto is a package of four separate services that will be available in Europe in 2020. The four programs are:
- Kinto Share is a ride sharing program that will let users rent a Toyota hybrid vehicle using an hourly or daily rate.
- Kinto Join will let users and even employers organize carpools among themselves.
- Kinto Flex is a leasing plan built around an open-ended subscription instead of a limiter-term contract for a single vehicle.
- Kinto One is a streamlined leasing program for a single vehicle that will include insurance and maintenance fees into one monthly payment.
The Kinto program originated in Japan last year, where the company launched the subscription-based leasing program in a general and premium tier offering.
The program also supported a gamification system that awarded drivers points for safe driving that could be put toward reducing future payments.
‘The brand name Kinto is derived from the Japanese word Kintoun, or Flying Nimbus, the name of a cloud which provides on-demand transport for a famous animated character in Japan,’ the company explains in a statement.
‘Just like Kintoun, Kinto wants to be available every time a customer looks for easy and clever ways to move around, wherever and whenever.’
The company says the four newly announced Kinto services will be limited to Europe, with specific pricing options and other details to be revealed at a later date.
In the US, Toyota uses the Kinto brand for a program that allows users to temporarily rent cars by the day or by the house, specifically to work for delivery or taxi services like Lyft.
That US program is not connected to this newly announced European initiative.
Toyota also says it’s investigating making its own ride-hailing app similar to Uber and Lyft, though there’s no promise it will ever be released.