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Toyota fuses a showroom with a cafe for new car sharing concept in Tokyo

Toyota is hoping to lure in young people that do not yet feel ready to buy a car by instead offering them a new car sharing service in Tokyo.

Drive to Go by Toyota is based around a retail store that mixes the functions of a showroom, or a car rental space, with a more relaxed coffee and restaurant concept.

The idea behind it is that people can visit the space and completely fuel up before a journey, both in terms of the vehicles and feeling refreshed themselves. Toyota wants to make the car rental process just as easy as it is for people to buy a coffee.

Many brands have already launched car sharing services, including Ford's Go-Drive service, VW's MOIA and BMW's DriveNow, which was first launched in 2014.

Toyota worked with architecture firm Achitept City to create the space, of which the cafe and restaurant will now be run by Transit and Rights Apartment - a company that runs restaurant brands like Bill’s in Japan. The concept was developed by business invention firm Inamoto & Co.

Rei Inamoto, founding partner at Inamoto & Co, stated: “The consumer car buying habit has drastically changed in the past decade, and that shift is even more pronounced in young people who aren't buying cars as often. So instead of creating yet another car showroom, we proposed a new service to Toyota that would provide a useful and delightful experience - not a sales or promotional one - for the audience, particularly young people. Drive To Go by Toyota goes beyond a car dealership or showroom by making a car share service as easy as it is to buy a cup of coffee.”

The design of the space is intended to feel like an outdoor cafe, while the function is meant to allow people to spend time there, with power points for devices put into the furniture.

Project architect Atsushi Muroi of Archicept City, added: “Retail and space design shouldn’t be the end goal. Rather, it should be the means to an end. In the case of showcasing cars, and given this location where there are a lot of young people who aren’t quite ready to buy cars yet, we thought of creating a space that supports activities that they enjoy.”

Drive to Go by Toyota is located in Nagoya, which is near Toyota’s HQ in Japan. Costs start from ¥1,000 an hour for any size vehicle (less than $10 an hour) to ¥14,300 for a full-day mini-van.

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