Toyota Fleet Mobility (TFM) is set to re-brand Inchcape Fleet Solutions (IFS) under its Kinto personal mobility brand as its looks to “transition from being a car manufacturer to a mobility company”.
The Japanese car brand’s fleet division announced the £100 million acquisition of IFS in October last year as the AM100 car retail group carried out a series of disposals from its UK business – including several Volkswagen dealerships – as part of a strategic move detailed in its annual financial results last week.
TFM completed its acquisition of IFS in December 2019, continuing its expansion in Europe and entering the UK’s fleet management and full-service leasing market with the benefit of IFS’s established operations and customer base.
Now Toyota has revealed that the rebranding of IFS as Kinto is expected to be completed within the first six months of 2020 as the business looks to drive growth through a new range of mobility solutions.
Tom Fux, the chief executive of Toyota Fleet Mobility Europe, said: “The acquisition of IFS was an important milestone for TFM in the European market.
“As Toyota transitions from being a car manufacturer to a mobility company, rebranding IFS as Kinto not only ensures that the IFS business remains neutral, it also supports our strategy to grow our total European business by adding new mobility services to our traditional business models.”
Matthew Rumble, IFS managing director, said: “With a strong growth plan and investment from our new owners, we are delighted to have this opportunity to grow our business and continue on our exciting fleet and mobility journey under the new Kinto brand.”
Toyota said that its Kinto offering is dedicated to offering mobility services to users across Europe and is part of Toyota’s global vision to evolve into a mobility company that provides all kinds of services related to the transportation of people, all around the world.
Kinto is derived from the Japanese word kintoun or flying nimbus, a cloud which provides on-demand transport for a famous animated character in Japan.
Just like kintoun, Kinto wants to be available every time a customer looks for easy and clever ways to move around, whenever and wherever.
Othe OEMs have had mixed recent fortunes in their efforts to deliver new mobility solutions.
In recent months AM has reported on BMW and Daimler’s withdrawal from ambitious plans to develop its joint car sharing business, ShareNow, from the UK amid a lack of appetite from customers and Volkswagen Group’s decision not to include the UK in pilots of its WeShare mobility scheme.
VW plans to expand its fleet of WeShare vehicles from 1,500 to 8,400 with the expansion of the scheme from Berlin into Prague and Hamburg in the spring, followed by Paris, Madrid, Budapest, Munich and Milan.
The Financial Times reported that BMW and Daimler’s ShareNow joint venture would be withdrawn from the United States and Canada due the “volatile state of the global mobility landscape” and the “rising infrastructure complexities facing North American transportation”.
Meanwhile, it will leave Brussels, London and Florence due to “low adoption rates”, leaving it operational in just 18 European cities – including seven in Germany.