Toyota NZ expands Kiwi car sharing firm Cityhop
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New Zealand's largest car sharing club Cityhop has been bought by Toyota New Zealand, and is expanding into Wellington.
Cityhop was founded by former Auckland City Councillor Victoria Carter a decade ago, and has operated mainly in central Auckland since then.
It was bought by Toyota New Zealand at the end of last year, and since then the fleet of vehicles has increased from 80 to 120.
Toyota has also added the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid model to the Cityhop fleet, joining petrol-powered models such as the Corolla and Yaris.
The venture has also expanded to offer its services in Wellington, where it has about 30 cars available for club members to use.
Cityhop Club members pay around $9.50 an hour to use the vehicles for however long they need them, before returning them to a designated car park.
The managing director of Toyota New Zealand, Alistair Davis, said Cityhop was not a a rental car business, where rental vehicles were returned to the company to be cleaned and refuelled and then rented to new customers.
Instead Cityhop members were responsible for ensuring there was fuel in the returned vehicle, and that it was in a satisfactory state.
If members failed to return the vehicles in good condition then they could be fined, with the fine going to the club member who registered the complaint.
Cityhop is New Zealand's largest car sharing scheme, with around 6000 members signed up, of which around 2000 were active members.
He said such schemes were growing rapidly as people found it convenient to hire a car by the hour.
Cityhop was discussing putting cars in strategic positions such as outside apartment buildings and at retirement villages where people could use the cars when they needed them.