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New method that failed because too futuristic. Toyota revives "WiLL"

3, 31. 2008

   Dream that could not be achieved by the WiLL project is tried again. Toyota is reviving the products which the company once tried to sell in a sales promotion project conducted jointly with other industries from the summer of 1999. The company is again trying to promote the sales. The products, however, do not include cars themselves but financial products and methods to sell cars.

New sales methods in which insurance premiums slide with mileage

   Besides Toyota, the WiLL project was first participated in by three other companies, including Kao Corp., Asahi Breweries and Matsushita Electric Industrial, and was later joined in by Ezaki Glico and Kokuyo Co. All the project bore the brand name of "WiLL" under the unified orange-color logo. The project itself, however, was officially terminated in the summer of 2004.

   Toyota itself developed and sold three different models under the respective brand names of "WiLL VS," "WiLL Vi" and "WiLL Cypha." These models were well-received by some customers for their original designs, concept and advanced functioning. But they did not leave much of fruitful result and they are no longer sold.

   Coinciding the sales of the WiLL brand merchandises, Toyota was also dealing with financial products especially for the project related to car sales. But these products have quietly been withheld for the reasons that the concept was excessively novel as financial products and that they caused losses.

   Rived first of all at this point is a new method for the payment of automobile insurance. It is a new type of auto insurance for which the premium fluctuate each month sliding with the distance covered by a car. Toyota made this insurance policy under the brand name of "Paid." Here is the outline of the policy. The users who have joined Toyota's telematics service "G-BOOKmX Pro" and who own the cars fitted with compatible car-borne implement qualified to take advantage of the policy. In the "Paid," the distance covered by the user's car is automatically recorded by the use of the G-BOOK communications apparatus, and the distance recorded is used as the basic data. The premium then consists of the monthly "basic premium" and "premium to cover the distance" which is paid in accordance with the distance run each month by the kilometer.

   G-BOOK is a telematics service offered by Toyota Motor. Its contents can be used by cell phones and car-borne equipment.

New type loan credit offered under WiLL also revived

   According to an estimate by Toyota, a subscriber to Paid who drives 200km a month would pay the annual insurance premium about 15% lower than another subscriber who drives 700km a month. This merit may be further widened by the use of the G-BOOK for monthly real-time calculations.

   When the WiLL project was first started, G-BOOKS and other telematics service were not popularized, and it was still difficult to accurately measure the distance run by a car in real-time terms. Furthermore, in a country like Japan where auto insurance is paid annually by a lump sum, such services were very little known if at all. A fast progress has been made in the G-BOOK technology since then, and the environment for utilizing the technology, however, the decision was taken to revive the sale of the service as a product for the users who can recognize the merit of the service. The popularization of and the use the G-BOOK are also targeted.

   Another thing Toyota is considering is the reviving of the new loan/credit type in which monthly payments slide with the distance run by a car. This type of loan was also available under the WiLL project. At that time, however, it was difficult to accurately measure and record the mileages for the same reason as for the auto insurance. Also, Toyota was believed to have incurred considerable losses because of wrong estimation for the resale value of cars as used cars, according to persons in the car industry.

   For the same reasons, however, it has become possible to grasp the distances covered by the users' cars. Furthermore, it has now become possible to accurately predict the resale value of cars as used cars three or five years later because of the accumulated know-how as a result for the efforts made by Toyota and other carmakers for the offering of the "loan/credit based on residual value" to lever up the sale of new cars. Against this background, the new type of loan/credit can now be offered.

   Paying of fees by the distance run makes it feel like renting a car. While the sense of value about cars and the car life itself are changing, the products that failed to be sold because they were too futuristic in the past are now being revived.

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