Toyota opening European office for connected mobility services

26 April 2018

26 April 2018

Toyota is to open a new European startup office in London as it looks to develop its range of connected transport services for the automotive market.

Toyota Connected will hire tech workers as it looks to build small teams across a number of different platforms which it can then offer to customers across the continent. The move comes as the business seeks to shift from a traditional automotive company to a wider services provider, in order to futureproof itself against changes in ownership models.

Zack Hicks, Toyota Connected North America’s CEO, will be the new company’s chairman, with Agustin Martin, Toyota Motor Europe’s Vice President, Connected Cars and Mobility, its CEO.

′The launch of Toyota Connected Europe shows our commitment to transforming how customers around the world experience mobility,’ said Hicks. ′It is also clear evidence of Toyota’s success in building a platform to support the future of mobility services.

′Thanks to the strength and flexibility of Toyota’s Mobility Services Platform, and in coordination with Toyota Motor Europe’s extensive capabilities, we look forward to delivering great services and improving the driver and passenger experience across Europe.

′Toyota Connected Europe is the next step in Toyota’s continued growth as a global mobility company,’ said Martin. ′The adoption of new approaches to mobility is moving very fast in Europe, and we’re excited to develop and scale the power of Toyota’s mobility services technologies for customers across the region.’

The company will leverage and extend Toyota’s Mobility Services Platform (MSPF), a cloud-based digital eco-system that provides the tools needed to bring mobility services to market, including ride sharing, car sharing and remote delivery, as well as managing the European operations of the Toyota Big Data Centre.

In Europe, Toyota already runs a car-sharing service in Ireland, Italy and Spain. In the US, its connected arm has struck deals with car rental group Avis, while in Japan the company has partnered with Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance to develop a telematics service that monitors drivers’ behaviour.

Vehicle manufacturers are looking at new ways of getting involved in a connected and autonomous market. Volvo has partnered with Uber, supplying cars for the company’s driverless program, while Jaguar has a similar deal with Waymo. BMW and Daimler recently merged their respective businesses DriveNow and car2go into one unit while Ford has announced it will develop a car-sharing scheme in-house rather than look for a partner.

Toyota Connected Europe will be based in London to access the area’s high concentration of data scientists, engineers and software developers. Launched with an initial investment of £4.5 million (€5.2 million), the new venture is expected to employ between 35 and 50 people.