Kia advances mobility work with new daily rental service
Kia is continuing its work to branch out into mobility with the launch of a new, global daily rental service.
The service is called KiaMobility and described by the carmaker as a “dealer-led car usership service”. Basically a new rental service, it means drivers can hire vehicles from dealers for periods ranging from just a day to up to a year.
Supported by an inhouse-developed fleet management platform, the service enables drivers to reserve vehicles and pay via a mobile app and then collect and return vehicles from their chosen dealership.
KiaMobility will initially be piloted at 16 locations through dealerships in Italy and Russia. The plan is to roll the scheme out in Europe and other regions such as Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East next year.
The carmaker said the scheme offers a new mobility option at a time when people are seeking new modes of transportation following the Covid-19 outbreak; not only will vehicles help drivers to avoid public transport but the cars will also get a thorough sanitation to help ensure safety.
But the scheme is not just a short-term Covid response but also part of longer-term plans by the carmaker to accommodate a growing shift among drivers to more diverse forms of mobility.
At the start of 2020, Kia revealed its ‘Plan S’ strategy, covering the mid- to long-term and aimed at progressively establishing a leadership position in the future automotive industry, encompassing mobility services and vehicle electrification, connectivity and autonomy.
It’s announced since then that its work will see it diversify global mobility services based on region to meet the differing needs of customers. And Kia has also accelerated its work in e-mobility with the launch of a new start-up firm, dubbed ‘Purple M’ and focused on developing Transportation as a Service (TaaS) services based on electric vehicles.
Kia is one of a growing number of carmakers looking to diversify to meet changing customer appetites in the mobility sector.
Daimler and BMW announced in spring 2018 that they were planning to combine their mobility offerings and more recently Toyota revealed plans to launch its Kinto brand for mobility services in Europe as part of its strategy to transition from a car-making to a mobility company – plans which also saw the brand announce late 2019 that was acquiring full-service leasing provider Inchcape Fleet Solutions.
And Kia’s raft of announcements show that it’s not hanging around with its own plans; other work by the carmaker includes the 2018 establishment of its ‘WiBLE’ car sharing service in Europe, while it also provided 200 e-Niros to the car-hailing firm Lyft in North America in 2019.