Toyota hops in car-sharing venture with Getaround
Toyota hops in car-sharing venture with Getaround. Image credit: Planwallpaper.

On Monday, Toyota announced the establishment of a new Mobility Services Platform (MSPF) in partnership with many service providers to diversify the company’s offer. Toyota will team up with Getaround for a pilot program that will deploy in San Francisco in January.

The new initiative by Toyota follows an unfortunate mishap earlier this month with hundreds of thousands of Prius cars. The Japanese automaker recalled over 300,000 Prius models in the U.S. due to an undetected, potentially fatal issue with the parking brake system.

The first stage of this new Toyota plan will focus on testing new business models and technologies using car-sharing as a vehicle.

The Mobility Services Platform (MSPF) will operate at a domestic level in the U.S. at first, but the company expects to expand its range abroad soon.

Toyota’s Mobility Services Platform will bring industry-wide changes

The Japanese manufacturer intends to break into the mobility services market with an entirely new strategy. Toyota will combine efforts with other subsidiaries like the Toyota Smart Center and the Toyota Big Data Center to introduce and test new products.

In fact, the scope of the Mobility Services Platform (MSPF) is not reduced only to the services themselves, but also to their management.

The team behind the new venture has already developed a new business model for car-sharing that will be tested in collaboration with Getaround in the coming months.

“As a mobility service platform provider, by collaborating with various companies and services, we would like to help create a new mobility society to offer safer and more convenient mobility to our customers,” said Shigeki Tomoyama, President of Toyota’s Connected Company.

Toyota and Getaround present the Smart Key Box

The first endeavor of Toyota’s Mobile Services Platform (MSPF) will be a new car-sharing business model based on the company’s new Smart Key Box (SKB) in partnership with Getaround.

The Smart Key Box (SKB) is an app that can unlock and start a car with just a code. Participants of the MSPF program with Getaround will receive a code to unlock rental cars through a smartphone app.

Toyota transformed smartphones into car keys.
Toyota transformed smartphones into car keys. Image credit: Food and Travel Blog.

At first, Toyota will offer Lexus and Prius vehicles for testing the possibilities of the SKB and how the program works. Drivers who rent Toyota cars using Getaround will be able to pay their lease fees by making it available to others while they are not using the car.

Toyota and Getaround’s new venture will roll out for drivers in the San Francisco area in January 2017. Toyota has said it plans to license potential business models for other ride-sharing companies in the future.

Source: Toyota