Toyota services are set to change after it opened a Europe-wide office in London for its Toyota Connected business.
The Japanese manufacturer wants to exploit the development of car technologies and changes in car usages by experimenting with how it offers Toyota services for motability.
Toyota said in a release that Toyota Connected Europe (TCEU) would be aimed at promoting mobility services in the European market and will cooperate with the US arm of the Connected business, which was established in 2016.
It will work in conjunction with the Toyota Mobility Service Platform with its various functions to provide mobility services such as fleet management solutions and lease programs.
TCEU will manage the European operation of Toyota Big Data Center (TBDC) where big data is collected from vehicles and analyzed on a cloud platform and ensures the security of processing operations in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR*2).
Toyota Connected North America’s chief executive, Zack Hicks, will be the chairman of the new company and Toyota Motor Europe’s Vice President, Agustin Martin will be its chief executive officer.
Shigeki Tomoyama, President of Toyota Connected said: “TCEU will be an important strategic business unit in Europe when it comes to promoting our connected strategy using Mobility Services Platform. Moving forward, leveraging our state-of-the-art data analysis technology, we will bring a more diverse and rich mobility experience to our customers in Europe.”
The Financial Times reported that the business will have 35 people working on it initially and an investment of £4.5m, to focus on London, Paris and then smaller European cities.
Toyota already runs a car-sharing service in Ireland, Italy, and Spain.
The growth of the unit is a response to various manufacturer strategic moves that have seen VW collaborate with startup Zipcar, Volvo and JLR sell hardware to Uber and Waymo, and Ford and General Motors desire to operate branded services.
Additionally, the rise of booking cars via mobile phones presents a fundamental disruption to the manufacturer retail model.
In comments to the Financial Times, chief executive Martin said that Toyota, the world’s third largest car-maker, wanted to build motability skills in-house.
“We believe that by taking a holistic approach, we can be well placed,” Mr Martin told the FT.