South Korea’s second-largest automaker Kia Motors Corp. said on Tuesday that it will launch a car sharing service later this week under the new mobility service brand WiBLE. The automaker’s move comes as part of efforts to ride on the bourgeoning car-sharing business and demand in Korea.
According to Kia Motors, the company’s trial car sharing service will be offered to residents living in the second complex of Cheonwang Yeonji Town in Guro, western Seoul. It will place 9 vehicles including Soul electric vehicle, Niro sport utility vehicle, and Carnival minivan within the complex so that residents can rent them at a low price. All they have to do is download the WiBLE application and reserve a car parked outside in the residential area with just few touches on their smartphones.
The automaker said that it has enhanced auto safety by applying cutting-edge safety features such as front collision alert (FCA), backward collision warning (BCW), and land departure warning (LDW) systems. Kia Motors expects its residential car sharing service will provide a convenient riding experience to residents in need of a second car, especially when they go grocery shopping or drive their children to school.
The automaker plans to expand the car sharing service to other large-scale apartment complexes under the WiBLE brand with an aim to offer a convenient travel experience to consumers.
Kia Motors’ mobility service brand WiBLE, which stands for ¡°widely accessible,¡± was unveiled on Tuesday. The brand includes a meaning that its vehicles are widely accessible anywhere and at any time and provide new experience to consumers in terms of mobility.
Kia Motors move to advance into the new car sharing service industry with WiBLE brand comes as the auto industry has seen a significant leap with the application of cutting-edge information technology (IT) such as self-driving and connected service. Vehicles have become more than simply a means of transportation but a living space. The growing trend for a shared service among consumers has also led to an era where cars are not only owned but shared and rented on demand.
IT companies such as Google Inc., Apple Inc., and Uber Technologies Inc. have also jumped on the bandwagon led by finished car manufacturers and are providing diverse mobility-related services. Hyundai Motor Co. also plans to launch its car sharing service ‘Deal Car’ next month with Hyundai Capital Services Inc.
By Lee Seung-hoon