HONOLULU — Toyota launched its first homegrown car-share program this month in Hawaii with a local dealership group, but not as an attempt to soak up the rental market for the millions of tourists who fly to this Pacific paradise for short stays every year.
Rather, it could be a model for dealerships around the globe to tap into local demand for part-time vehicle use by leveraging the Japanese automaker's big investment in data services as it tries to anticipate consumer trends beyond personal ownership.
The new service, called Hui, runs on the proprietary mobility platform developed by the Toyota Connected business unit. Its operator is Hawaii's biggest Toyota dealership group, Servco Pacific, which is also the brand's local distributor.
Servco CEO Mark Fukunaga said tourists are welcome to use the service, which has a starting rate of $10 per hour, but the target audience is one-car families who may occasionally need a second vehicle, students who can't afford a car yet and businesses or government agencies without vehicle fleets.
"For many customers, this is an affordable short-term solution for a car when they need it," Fukunaga said at the launch event here. "We've seen around the world where car-sharing has reduced traffic congestion, freed up parking and improved air quality."
Hui is putting up 70 new vehicles — Toyota's Prius and Camry and the Lexus RX — that can be rented by the hour or by the day at 25 fixed locations in the dense urban area of Honolulu. Fukunaga said a lower-priced option could be added by putting used cars into the mix, if there is demand.