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Toyota retools Japan dealerships for car-sharing age

Automaker aims to cut reliance on vehicle sales as ownership declines

Drivers will soon be able to rent shared vehicles through their smartphones from Toyota dealers like Corolla, Toyopet and Netz. 

NAGOYA, Japan -- Toyota Motor will revamp its domestic network of 5,000 dealers and add services like vehicle-sharing, moving to reduce its dependence on new-cars sales as Japan's auto market shrinks.

Toyota on Thursday explained to its dealers that it is doing away the divides that separate different sales channels and let all outlets sell any model. The move is part of a business strategy designed to prepare the automaker for a new era where access to cars is valued over ownership. 

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