Toyota launches app-controlled car sharing in Honolulu

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on July 12, 2018.
-A +A

CHICAGO/NEW YORK: Toyota Motor Corp launched a Honolulu car-sharing service on Tuesday that allows customers to use smartphones to unlock and start cars for rent by the hour or day. It is the latest service offered by an automaker that competes with ride-hailing and rental-car companies.

The service is called Hui, pronounced “hooey,” which means “group” in Hawaiian. Developed with local distributor Servco Pacific Inc, it uses a Toyota platform that tracks and analyses who uses car sharing and when. Toyota says it will use the data to better manage its supply of cars.

Starting at US$9.95 (RM40.10) an hour or $79.60 a day — including gasoline and insurance — customers can reserve and rent a Toyota Prius, Lexus RX 350 or other model at one of 25 parking stations for round-trip use. Toyota joins rivals such as Daimler AG’s Car2Go and General Motor Co’s Maven in offering a service that competes with traditional taxis, ride-hailing services like Uber Technologies Inc and rental-car companies like Hertz Global Holdings Inc.

“The programme is simple to use and more convenient than a traditional car-rental service,” Zack Hicks, chief executive officer of Toyota Connected North America, said in a statement. The largest Japanese automaker also acquired a small stake in Uber in 2016, and last month it invested US$1 billion in Grab Holdings Inc, Southeast Asia’s top ride-sharing company. — Bloomberg