With many industry analysts predicting dramatic change in the car ownership model, with these investments Toyota plans to capitalize on its mobility services.
Toyota Motor Corp is all set to pilot test its new Smart Key Box technology in Getaround’s fleets, a U.S. car-sharing service, next year. The company is capitalising on new mobility services, which many predict to be a threat to traditional car ownership.
Toyota, the world’s biggest auto manufacturer did confirm last week that it has invested in San Francisco-based Getaround. It has also partnered with Uber Technologies for the leasing of its vehicles, in order to accelerate research in mobile technology.
This investment follows the general trend in the motor industry with global auto manufacturers rapidly adapting to changes in the sector.
“We don’t consider these new services to be negative for us,” said Shigeki Tomoyama, head of Toyota’s Connected Car company. “If increased vehicle usage increases the rate at which cars are replaced, this could increase car sales … and if more ride-hailing companies use cars from our fleets, then our customers will increase.”
He went on to add that the company plans on installing new software which will enable drivers to access remote data services from their smartphones in real time. This will be for nearly all of its new cars sold in the United States and Japan by 2020.
“While we’re a company that makes and sells cars, at the same time we’re a developer of mobility services,” said Tomoyama.
Toyota stated among the other features of the Smart Key Box technology, is the ability to control doors and start engines via a smartphone.