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Toyota to set up mobility service company

Headquartered in Tokyo, it will look at new customer needs

Toyota Motor Corporation on Thursday made known its intent to merge its wholly-owned subsidiary, Toyota Fleet Leasing Co, with another second-tier arm, Toyota Tokyo Rental & Leasing Co.

The new entity, Toyota Mobility Service Co, will become a reality on April 1, 2018. Apart from aiming to strengthen the existing corporate automobile leasing and rental car businesses, Toyota intends to plan and provide new mobility services ‘in anticipation of a mobility society’.

The company said that they are ‘aware of customers’ diversifying needs’, which not only includes conventional vehicle ownership but also the growing need for shared utilisation such as car sharing.

Many corporations operating across Japan are based in Tokyo where the earliest expansion of the mobility service society is expected to occur.

Revolutionary period

Consequently, Toyota plans to establish the new company in the city to ‘quickly and flexibly’ respond to changing uses and needs for cars in this ‘once-in-a-century revolutionary period’ in the automobile industry.

The new company will work with Toyota, as well as with Toyota Group vehicle manufacturing companies. These include Toyota Connected Company in the connected area, Toyota Finance Corporation in finance, and Toyota Usec in the used car business.

The idea is to mobilise the combined strengths of each company to meet a wide range of customer needs. In the future, Toyota aims to become the leading company of a mobility society by developing and offering appropriate services.

The company also adds that some specific initiatives of Toyota Mobility Service Co include the following: (a) Collaborating with in-house companies and Toyota Group vehicle manufacturers, gathering the needs of corporate customers, and promoting the making of ever-better cars by providing feedback for products; (b) Developing and providing new mobility services including solution services for corporate customers, connected services using in-vehicle communication equipment and car sharing. This will be done in cooperation with Toyota’s Japan Fleet Business Division and a new organisation, the Mobility Service Planning Division (to be established in January 2018 as part of Toyota’s Japan Sales Business Group); (c) Constructing a high-quality maintenance network in cooperation with Toyota dealers so that long-range, long-running, high-performance corporate vehicles can be used safely and ‘with peace of mind’; (d) Proactively collaborating and forming tie-ups with external companies with high levels of ‘expertise and ambition’ that already operate in the automobile leasing and sharing fields. The idea is to provide attractive services toward a future mobility society.

The initiative is interesting and only reinforces the point on how Toyota is dead serious about its new mobility vision. It is crystal clear that the company is taking into account all future trends that will determine how carmakers will need to plot their strategies a lot more carefully.

It is also more than evident now that disruptions in the industry are here to stay and will have their fallout on ownership in the mid to long-term. While this is more pronounced in developing countries, which also need to grapple with the realities of an ageing population, the scenario is different in India where car penetration levels are still low and an aspiring youthful buyer base continues to fuel sales.

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