Toyota to Start New Car Subscription Service in Japan

Toyota Motor Corporation will start to deploy a new car subscription service1 called KINTO2, which proposes a new user-car relationship, beginning in 2019. Toyota wants  to change from an automobile manufacturing company into  – what else – a mobility company that offers a range of services to society of the future. Until now, Toyota has strengthened alliances between Toyota Group companies and other automobile manufacturers and new companies offering mobility services to create partnerships. The next steps are murky.

Toyota claims that as cars shift from ownership to use, new types of ownership and options for driving such as sharing, car leases, and rent-a-car services are increasingly appearing. This is anticipated to – allegedly – make cars a more convenient and comfortable mobility option. No word on the cost of such convenience.

Toyota will deploy KINTO based on the idea (idea or wish?) that cars are manufactured goods that can be preceded by the word “beloved.” (AutoInformed is not making this up, and no Elon Musk is not on the board yet) Toyota hopes that cars will always be the “beloved cars” of its customers, regardless of changes in the times.

Recently, as customer lifestyles and consumption styles have changed, customer needs are diversifying in addition to the need to own one car for a long period of time. (Marketing Hype warning) “These include customer needs to freely choose the type of car that they like and want to drive, and to freely enjoy such a car. With KINTO, customers can freely apply for a monthly fixed-sum service that has packaged procedures such as tax and insurance payments as well as vehicle maintenance. Therefore, they can freely select the car that they like or want to drive and enjoy it as they like.”

In addition, a program to reward customers is being planned. Big Brother Points will be awarded for safe or ecological driving using connected technology and regular visits to dealers. Toyota is  currently considering (in a hot tub with lots of sake?) details such as operation methods and forms for the new service, and it is planned that such a program will initially be run on a trial basis in the Tokyo area.

“Cars have been loved by people for over 100 years since they were first developed for many reasons in addition to their convenience,” says President Akio Toyoda. “Indeed, I believe that it is because they offer many joys to people, including the joy of ownership, the joy of driving, and the joy of mobility. As society shifts from owning cars to using cars, the KINTO beloved car subscription service is a new proposal to enable customers to more freely enjoy cars.”

“We named the service KINTO to represent our vision of a flying nimbus (kintoun in Japanese), insofar as it quickly appears when necessary and enables mobility as per the user’s wishes. Going forward, we will not only convey the appeal of cars, but also engage in initiatives to enable customers to find more enjoyment in the future mobility society based on the idea of “continuing to offer mobility that is beloved.”

*1Monthly fixed-sum service

*2Name signifying a service that quickly appears when necessary, enables mobility as per the user’s wishes, and is kind to the environment, like a kintoun – Japanese for “flying nimbus”

 

About Kenneth Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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