Toyota investing $1 billion in ride-hailing company Grab

  • Toyota investing $1 billion in ride-hailing company Grab

Toyota investing $1 billion in ride-hailing company Grab

Some automakers have responded by partnering with makers of ride-hailing apps which dominate the fast-growing field of mobility services, in anticipation of a future of reduced auto ownership.

Toyota Motor Corp has agreed to invest USD1 billion in Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab as a lead investor in the company's ongoing financing round.

From its beginnings as a taxi-booking app - its original name is GrabTaxi - the company is morphing into an online platform for connecting users and offline services, and is venturing into financial services and venture capital. The carmaker first invested an undisclosed amount in Grab in August past year, after it invested in US-based Uber in 2016 in a partnership for a financing programme that allowed Uber drivers to lease vehicles from Toyota and drive for Uber to cover the payments.

Toyota put money into Grab via its Next Technology Fund previous year, but this time around the capital comes directly from the parent company. Honda also invested in Grab in a partnership aimed at expanding motorcycle-hailing operations in Southeast Asia.

The fresh funds will allow Grab to further expand services such as its food delivery service GrabFood and mobile payments GrabPay to more countries across the region.

Grab will collaborate with Toyota on how connected vehicle services on the Toyota Mobility Service Platform (MSPF) - such as user-based insurance, financing program and predictive maintenance - could enrich the Grab experience for drivers on the Grab platform. Toyota has installed its data recorders in Grab-operated rental cars to collect driving data - a similar strategy it has employed with Japan Taxi, said Bloomberg. Toyota is an incredible company that has done so much for the world. This strong partnership will enable us to become the one-stop mobility platform in Southeast Asia. A future that will provide for safer and more affordable rides, more liveable cities, and millions of new micro businesses in the digital revolution. "We will continue to work with global leaders like Toyota in bringing this vision to pass", said Anthony Tan, co-founder and CEO of Grab.

"I am delighted that we are strengthening our collaboration, which utilizes Toyota's connected technologies", Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Tomoyama said in a statement.

Grab made headlines in March by buying out Uber's business in Southeast Asia in a multibillion-dollar deal.

How big is Grab today? The Malaysian-born but now Singapore-based company has its namesake app in over 100 million mobile devices, giving passengers access to over 6.6 million drivers and agents. It also has Southeast Asia's biggest land transportation fleet, delivering over six million rides per day.