What Is Toyota’s Kinto?

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By 2030, profits from new car sales are expected to plummet, which mirrors the 5.8% decrease in the past year alone. It’s a testing time for manufacturers, but an emerging automated mobility market, spearheaded by Toyota, might just be the answer. The sub-brand, known as “Kinto”, looks like it will be the first move into this new and developing market.

It may be that we will soon be calling manufacturers ‘mobility companies’ instead. But what exactly is Kinto and how does it hope to revolutionise the mobility market?

Foundations

Toyota Kinto

Toyota hopes to appeal to a wider market of mobility users, from individual and business clients to whole cities, through the use of a dedicated brand – aka Kinto.

In order to do this, the manufacturer is working on increasing its share of full-service leasing (which bundles leasing, maintenance, road tax and insurance into one monthly payment), rolling out car pooling and car sharing services and integrating Mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) advancements such as its e-Palette concept *Link to e-Palette post*.

The Japanese manufacturer is hoping to achieve success in areas where manufacturers have traditionally struggled, such as Daimler and BMW’s failed joint Share Now car-sharing venture, by not solely relying on one service, i.e. car-sharing, but instead offering a collection of mobility services simultaneously.

Services

While services will be rolled out on a per-market basis according to viability, there are four initial services that are to be launched in European markets and other services like Kinto Ride, a ride-hailing service similar to Uber and Lyft, are likely to be announced in the future.

1. Kinto One

Building upon Toyota’s existing fleet management company, Toyota Fleet Mobility (TFM), this service aims to offer full-service leasing (FSL) that merges vehicle, maintenance and insurance fees into a single monthly payment. This means a simpler leasing experience that allows customers to better budget for their vehicle by taking care of everything but fuel.

2. Kinto Share

Kinto Share is the next level of Toyota’s existing Yuko brand that is being subsumed by Kinto. It already operates in a number of Europe’s cities, namely Dublin, Venice, Copenhagen and Madrid, allowing members to book cars from €8 an hour or from €55 per day without running costs as fuel (up to 50kms worth) and insurance are included.

Kinto Share will attempt to expand the car-sharing service already in place and grow the fleet to a larger line-up of hybrid vehicles. The current models available for hire are the Yaris, Corolla, C-HR, Corolla Saloon and Corolla Touring Sports, with more to be announced in the future.

3. Kinto Join

Kinto Join is an app that offers car-pooling services in order to connect users wishing to share their daily commute. Advertised as a way for employees and employers to reduce their carbon footprint, the service also boasts user verification allowing employers to offer car-pooling incentives to it’s staff.

4. Kinto Flex

Similar to Kinto One, Flex is a leasing service that allows its users to benefit from full-service vehicle use. However, unlike One that is based on a limited term agreement for a specific vehicle, Flex utilises a premium subscription based model that allows its users to change vehicles (most likely annually) and to opt-out at anytime.

Toyota Kinto
Credit: Toyota GB

Impact

The impact of Kinto has the potential to revolutionise the transport market. A sharp shift from privately owned vehicles to communal transportation services is expected due to increased government scrutiny and legislation in cities and could potentially offer better suitability to needs, greater freedom of choice and a greener transport industry.

For example, rather than owning a car solely because you need to commute to work, car-pooling might be appropriate, which will be both more affordable and sustainable. Moreover, it’s likely that these services will utilise low emission vehicles, such as electric cars, decreasing carbon footprint, as well as autonomous services that will help to open up mobility to those who can’t drive.

What are the alternatives?

Mobility is the new buzzword of the motor industry and Toyota isn’t the only manufacturer looking to offer mobility services. Other manufacturers, including Volvo and Volkswagen, also offer services to a certain extent, with more likely to jump on the bandwagon and follow suit in the near future.

Volvo Care

While not as sophisticated and planned out as Toyota’s Kinto, Volvo Care is a premium subscription service offering full-service leasing for Volvo’s vehicles.

After signing up for the membership, a three-stage process gets you behind your new vehicle within two weeks. Simply select the model you’re after, confirm insurance eligibility and schedule your pick-up date. You’re also offered the opportunity to switch your vehicle every 12 months to either the latest model of your current model or to a completely different one.

Volkswagen Moia

More akin to Kinto is Volkswagen’s Moia, which is an independent company attempting to ‘develop and offer an extensive portfolio of on-demand mobility services‘.

Starting with ride-sharing and ride-hailing services, the company is looking to partner with start-ups to further expand its mobility services to make urban living ‘better, cleaner and safer‘ but official plans are yet to be announced.

Needless to say, Toyota are ahead of the competition with the extensive layout and infrastructure it has in place to support the development of Kinto, but only time will tell whether or not the venture is successful.

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