Toyota launches Kinto mobility brand in Europe

AMSTERDAM — Toyota has launched a new mobility brand in Europe named Kinto as a “defensive” move against the rise of leasing companies and also to prepare for the arrival of robotaxis.

Kinto bundles together services Toyota already operates or has tested in Europe into four categories: leasing, short-term rentals, car pooling and subscription services.

Kinto One renames Toyota’s fleet leasing operations and looks to expand the company’s full servicing lease package, which it currently offers in Spain, France, Italy and the UK.

“That’s the primary focus to start with and then very quickly we will build the other services,” Toyota Europe’s head of sales and marketing, Matt Harrison, told Automotive News Europe.

Toyota is reacting to the growth of leasing as a way of financing new cars in Europe. The method is becoming more popular at the expense of traditional hire purchase as leasing firms begin to move away from their traditional corporate clients to target private customers.

As part of its expansion, Toyota bought the UK leasing arm of Inchcape for 100 million pounds (117 million euros) in October 2019.

“What that means for us is that we are losing control of the relationship with the customer,” Harrison said. “Once the leasing companies get the customer, frankly we’re just a supplier. Kinto is partly defensive.”

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