The Big T could be the first mainstream brand to trial a subscription model
Toyota has announced it will start a subscription service for Japan in 2019, a day after Cadillac confirmed it's suspending the Book by Cadillac service in the USA.
Details about the Toyota's new Kinto subscription service are a bit vague right now, with the company still working through its operational details.
Toyota has confirmed customers will pay a flat monthly fee, which takes care of taxes, insurance costs, and servicing fees. Pricing has yet to be released, and the vehicles available through the service have yet to be confirmed.
The Japanese auto-making giant states customers can "freely select the car that they like or want to drive and enjoy it as they like".
According to Akio Toyoda, CEO of Toyota, "If the customer wants to try another car, they can change cars, and if they no longer need the car, they can return it", although he didn't give any details about restrictions related to car-swapping.
"As society shifts from owning cars to using cars, the Kinto beloved car subscription service is a new proposal to enable customers to more freely enjoy cars," Toyoda said in a prepared statement.
The Kinto service will initially be trialled in the Tokyo area. When it launches next year, Toyota will be the first non-premium brand to offer a subscription scheme.
Unlike other subscription services, Toyota plans on attaching a loyalty scheme to Kinto to "reward customers who carefully use the car as if it were their own beloved vehicle".
Points will be awarded for safe or eco-friendly driving, as well as when the car is brought in for service.
Across the Pacific, Andrew Lipman, a spokesman for Cadillac, confirmed to Automotive News the marque is "hitting the pause button" on its own subscription service.
Known as Book by Cadillac, the scheme will be relaunched "based off the learning we have made in early [quarter one 2019]".
Book by Cadillac was launched in 2017 by then-brand boss Johan de Nysschen. Priced at a flat US$1800 ($2540) per month, it allowed subscribers in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas to drive an ATS-V, CTS-V or CT6 sedan, XT5 crossover or Escalade SUV.
Subscribers were allowed to change their vehicle 18 times during the first year.
Since Cadillac launched its scheme Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volvo have begun their own geographically limited subscription services in the US.