Toyota’s car-sharing café is a response to Japanese consumption trends
As the world’s largest automotive manufacturer, Toyota distinguishes itself by means of specific models and high-calibre technologies. The Japanese car brand is equally committed, however, to the development of services that fall within the larger scope of mobility. One such initiative is Drive to Go, a new retail concept based on car sharing. The service targets people under the age of 25 who live in metropolitan areas and can afford neither the steep costs of ownership nor the accompanying maintenance expenses and parking fees.
‘Instead of providing a place in which young people get to see and touch cars, we’ve come up with a service package that allows them to actually use one,’ says Atsushi Muroi of Archicept City, whose studio developed the project with Inamoto & Co. ‘This café-cum-rental-kiosk serves as the base station.’
It’s no longer about the purchase of high-end goods but rather the gaining of new experiences
The first realization of Drive to Go is located in Nagoya, Japan. An SUV parked prominently outside the café, along with wooden ‘picnic’ furniture inside the space, illustrates Archicept City’s glamping motif, a luxury style of camping that’s gaining popularity among young urbanites. After taking their fill of free sandwiches and coffee in the café, customers can select a rental car that’s already equipped with outdoor camping gear. Once checked in, they need only collect their friends and drive to one of the partnering campsites to complete the glamping experience.
Drive to Go responds to a much larger shift in contemporary Japanese consumption habits. ‘With the advent of social networking, people are more eager to participate in such day-to-day activities,’ says Muroi. ‘It’s no longer about the purchase of high-end goods but rather the gaining of new experiences, like camping or hosting a barbecue with close friends or family.’ Without the barrier of upfront investment – and with all the necessary equipment included in the service package – Drive to Go is a smart marketing strategy that plays to the growing experience economy.