Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nissan and Audi Follow Toyota In Offering Car Sharing Programs

Nissan and Audi Japan K.K., have joined Toyota Motor Corp. in offering car-sharing schemes, in a move designed to counter sagging auto sales by raising brand recognition and increasing the firms' ecological appeal.

Unlike a rental car service, in which many cars are made available to any number of customers, in a car-sharing scheme one car is shared by a limited number of people who must be members. The members each possess IC cards used to unlock the cars.

Nissan has been providing a car-sharing service in Yokohama since late July on an experimental basis through an affiliated rental car firm. The 20 or so members of the scheme jointly use a Nissan Otti light car and March compact car.

The members must make a reservation to use the vehicles and are required to pay a monthly fee of 980 yen plus an initial charge of 6,460 yen. The rental rate is determined by tallying the total driving time (340 yen per 15 minutes) and distance traveled (15 yen per kilometer).

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