Toyota Connected has announced the launch of a new startup division, dubbed Toyota Connected Europe (TCEU). The division will be focused on the launch and support of new shared mobility services and fleet management solutions in the region.
The new Toyota Connected Europe startup will be based out of London (UK) and will see Toyota Motor Europe’s Vice President of Connected Car and Mobility, Agustin Martin, installed as its CEO. Also notable is that Toyota Connected North America’s CEO, Zack Hicks, will function as chairman at the new firm.
The reason for basing Toyota Connected Europe out of London — rather than out of a different city in Europe — is reportedly so as to make use of the region’s particularly large concentration of engineers, data researchers, and software development talent.
The press release (h/t Green Car Congress) provides a bit more information: “TCEU will partner with Toyota Motor Europe, Toyota retailers, and distributors in the region to support the launch of new shared mobility and fleet management solutions for consumers, businesses, governments, and other stakeholders.
“The company will leverage and extend Toyota’s Mobility Services Platform (MSPF), a cloud-based digital ecosystem that provides the tools necessary to bring to market mobility services including ride sharing, car sharing and remote delivery, as well as manage the European operations of the Toyota Big Data Center.”
The Toyota Connected Europe startup will initially feature funding of £4.5 million (~$6.3 million) and employ an estimated 35–50 people.
BMW & Daimler are now working together on carsharing, ridesharing, and related services — which includes a merger of some sort of DriveNow and Car2Go.
Hyundai launched its first carsharing service last year in Amsterdam, Holland. The service uses Hyundai Ioniq Electrics.
Renault & Ferrovial created a joint venture called Zity for electrified carsharing.
Volvo announced last year that it would create a carsharing arm.
Volkswagen said in 2016 it would focus much more on these mobility as a service (MaaS) matters.
You get the point. Every major automaker and its cousin has an arm or two working on carsharing, ridesharing, etc. They often utilize electric or at least hybrid vehicles for such services — for logical reasons. How will Toyota differentiate itself? What regions will it focus on? What electric models does it intend to use for sharing services? How much of the market does Toyota think will shift from ownership to sharing services?
We don’t yet know the answers to those questions, but we sent them over to Toyota for responses. We’ll update this article if we get anything notable to share.