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Should mobility be the ‘lease’ of your concerns?


Talk Box

Kinto One challenges notion of vehicle ownership

WHO ELSE but the country’s leading brand has both bandwidth and temerity to, well, lead the way in other industry frontiers?

Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. (TMP), through Toyota Financial Services Philippines (TFSPH), is “offering Filipino customers accessible and flexible ways to acquire cars and enjoy the freedom of mobility, auto financing, and leasing services.”

Yes, that’s quite a mouthful, so let’s back up a bit.

For two decades now, TFSPH has been helping enable Filipinos get their Toyota of choice by offering financing services. The company’s president, Rommel Ocampo, shared that the company has a hand in nearly half (45%) of Toyotas sold.

Renting cars for a day or two (or even a week) is nothing unusual in this country, of course, but the concept of vehicle leasing is still admittedly a novel idea here. Let’s face it: “Leasing” as a concept is something we’re used to when dealing with real estate property.

The crux of the matter lies in ownership and our concept of it. Admittedly, there’s a sense of satisfaction and pride in traditional ownership of any kind. “This is my car,” sounds much sexier than “I’m leasing this car.” But if you really think about it, what does ownership entail? And in this era of ride-hailing platforms, is owning a car in the traditional sense still all that it’s cracked up to be? Come to think of it, studies have even shown that fewer of the younger generation are learning to drive. However, the COVID-19 pandemic was also the monkey wrench that served to undo confidence in taking public transportation altogether.

Back to our discussion on ownership and its evolving contemporary relevance, that perhaps encapsulates the kind of thinking behind Kinto One. TFSPH had rolled the product out in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the firm now wants to more deliberately talk about it amid an improved situation. The “full-service vehicle lease package for individual customers” posits the notion of vehicle subscription or “usership” that essentially swaps out the hassle for an all-inclusive monthly payment package.

TFSPH is hoping to shed some light and sense into the ownership conversation by comparing Kinto One “usership,” with the traditional acquisition process. Versus separately paid expenses related to periodic maintenance service (PMS), replacement of wear-and-tear parts, annual comprehensive insurance, and vehicle registration, Kinto One customers only need to pay a fixed monthly rate. And whereas traditional loans entail a down payment (usually a minimum 20% of the total vehicle cost) and chattel mortgage, TFSPH only asks for a security deposit (two months rental advance). After the three or four years of lease under Kinto One, the customer only needs to return the vehicle and then subscribe for another new one — compared to an expected lengthy process of documentation and requirements to resell a traditionally acquired car.

Meanwhile, Kinto One Business is a complete mobility solution for corporate customers. TFSPH Vice-President for Marketing Operations Department for Sales and Marketing Kaye Amores said that the product also offers “easy leasing, expert maintenance, and low monthly payment,” along with a fleet management service and fleet connected service to enable functions such as location tracing, geo-fencing, unplug detection, and feedback on driver performance. The bottom line, insisted the executive, is that the service allows a company to “spend less on the fleet,” and worry less as well.

Back to Kinto One for individuals, TFSPH is making available a number of Toyota models and variants such as the Vios, Corolla Altis, Fortuner, Innova, Rush, and Corolla Cross. Recently, the Camry and Alphard have been added, and the company is looking to include some Lexus models in the mix. Interestingly, hybrid models are also being pushed and, in some cases, being sought out by customers themselves. “It’s a good way for us to introduce Toyota’s hybrid vehicles,” said Mr. Ocampo over lunch with select members of the media.

He also observed that more people are open to leasing now, compared to when TFSPH first rolled out Kinto One in 2020. It’s a practical idea for expats, for instance, to just “subscribe and drive,” and is a much cheaper, bang-for-buck alternative to a straight rental.

Part of the allure in Kinto One is that the subscriber can basically just switch to a new car once the lease is up, and the fixed monthly payment insulates him or her from price increases. Tucked into the program as well is the Kinto Concierge Service, which, among other things, reminds the lessee when, say, the vehicle is due for a checkup or parts change.

This basically ushers in an era where convenience is king, especially in light of a still-raging pandemic, and a challenged public transportation system. Speaking of convenience, TFSPH is also introducing myToyota Wallet, a mobile payment solution that “allows customers to safely and easily transact for everything Toyota.” The app is available for Android and iOS devices, and “allows card tokenization for up to three debit or credit cards,” enabling cashless transactions at any Toyota dealership nationwide. The e-wallet also works seamlessly with the myToyota App so that the user can pay digitally for parts, accessories, service, and even insurance. Soon, customers can even pay for monthly amortization.

“The future looks bright for the industry. A recent automotive market study has revealed that demand for new vehicles is rising in the region, and that vehicle subscription is on the rise in Southeast Asia, as an alternative to ownership,” underscored Mr. Ocampo.

We say “yay” for whatever can get more people from here to there — surely the vision of TMP’s “mobility for all” mantra.