Toyota announces new subscription lease and car sharing programs with the name Kinto in Europe

Today, Toyota has announced a wide new initiative, called Kinto, which will expand the company to share journeys, carpooling, subscription-based leasing and more.

Kinto is not a single program, but a package of four separate programs designed to expand the company’s presence on the European market and to find new ways to make driving accessible to people who may not feel the full cost of a new vehicle can afford it.

The new announcement is part of the company’s adaptation to a car industry that is shifting from a model based on ownership to a model focused on use and accessibility.

Toyota has announced four new programs for the European market, which it has collectively referred to as 'Kinto', including a new short-term rental app, a carpool service and two streamlined lease options

Toyota has announced four new programs for the European market, which it has collectively referred to as ‘Kinto’, including a new short-term rental app, a carpool service and two streamlined lease options

The first major part of the program will be Kinto Share, a car sharing service similar to Zipcar or Car2Go, with which subscribers can book cars per hour or per day with a smartphone app.

Share is an expanded version of Yuko, a limited program that Toyota has implemented in Dublin, Copenhagen and a small selection of other European cities as a pilot.

Via Yuko, customers were able to pick up cars from self-service locations for € 8 per hour or € 55 per day with included benefits such as comprehensive insurance, 50 km of free petrol and free street parking tickets.

Toyota has not detailed the pricing plans for Kinto Share, but it is probably in the same range.

Another part of the Kinto family of programs is Kinto Join, which allows users to connect via a smartphone app to find potential carpool partners traveling to general areas or specific destinations.

Toyota will compete with Zipcar and other car rental companies in the short term with Kinto Share, which allows subscribers to take out a hybrid Toyota vehicle for an hourly or daily rate

Toyota will compete with Zipcar and other car rental companies in the short term with Kinto Share, which allows subscribers to take out a hybrid Toyota vehicle for an hourly or daily rate

Toyota will compete with Zipcar and other car rental companies in the short term with Kinto Share, which allows subscribers to take out a hybrid Toyota vehicle for an hourly or daily rate

Toyota says this feature also supports group programs for employees at large companies who may want to coordinate their commuting daily.

The third part of the Kinto initiative is Kinto Flex, which allows customers to lease cars through an ongoing subscription, instead of signing an agreement for a particular car.

The last program is Kinto One, an extensive lease program that bundles complete car payments, insurance and maintenance costs into one monthly payment to streamline the lease process.

“Kinto is part of our strategy to grow our total European activities,” Johan van Zyl, CEO of Toyota Motor Europe, said in a statement announcement of the new services.

Kinto Share is based on an earlier test program called Yuko (pictured above), which Toyota used in a small selection of European cities, including Dublin and Copenhagen

Kinto Share is based on an earlier test program called Yuko (pictured above), which Toyota used in a small selection of European cities, including Dublin and Copenhagen

Kinto Share is based on an earlier test program called Yuko (pictured above), which Toyota used 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 enable 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 trip exchange program that allows users to rent a Toyota hybrid vehicle with an hourly or daily rate.
  • Kinto Participate let users and even employers organize carpools among themselves.
  • Kinto Flex is a lease plan built around a contract for an indefinite period instead of a contract with a limited duration for a single vehicle.
  • Kinto one is a streamlined lease program for one vehicle that includes insurance and maintenance costs in one monthly payment.

The Kinto program originated in Japan last year, where the company launched the subscription-based lease program in a general and premium offering.

The program also supported a gamification system that allocates safe driving driver points that can be used to reduce future payments.

“The Kinto brand name is derived from the Japanese word Kintoun, or Flying Nimbus, the name of a cloud that provides on-demand transportation for a famous animated character in Japan,” the company explains in a statement.

“Just like Kintoun, Kinto always wants to be available when a customer is looking for easy and smart 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 announced later.

In the US, Toyota uses the Kinto brand for a program that allows users to temporarily rent cars per day or at the house, particularly to work for delivery or taxi services such as Lyft.

This American program is not related to this newly announced European initiative.

Toyota also says it is researching making its own ride app that looks like Uber and Lyft, although there is no promise that it will ever be released.

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