Toyota investing $1 billion in ride-hailing company Grab

13 June, 2018, 12:29 | Author: Regina Silva
  • A logo of Toyota Motor Corp is seen at the company's showroom in Tokyo Japan

The deal comes as the auto industry faces a spike in the need for technological prowess with the advent of features such as autonomous driving, while app makers offer passengers the option to forgo vehicle purchases by connecting them with drivers.

Until March this year, Grab was Uber's biggest competitor in the Asian region.

Wednesday's announcement deepens Toyota's partnership with Grab, following an earlier, undisclosed investment by the automaker's trading arm previous year. In 2016, General Motors invested US$500 million in Lyft, and Volkswagen also poured US$300 million into Israeli taxi app Gett in the same year. Last year, its trading arm, Toyota Tsusho Corp, injected an undisclosed amount in Grab, and the companies have worked together since August developing connected services.

Toyota announced today that it has concluded an agreement with ride-sharing app company Grab to strengthen their existing partnership and expand collaboration in Southeast Asia to drive further advances in Mobility as a Service (MaaS).

Toyota is investing as a lead investor in Grab's ongoing financing round, Grab said in a statement on Wednesday (June 13).

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The $1 billion investment is part of a broader fundraising round by Grab, which said it will use the money to further expand its food delivery service and mobile payment platform across the region. When Grab claimed the Softbank investment of $US250 million in 2014, it was at the time the largest made into a South East Asian internet company on public record. This strong partnership will enable us to become the one-stop mobility platform in Southeast Asia.

The automaker on Wednesday said by deepening the partnership, it hoped to achieve connectivity for Grab's rental auto fleet across Southeast Asia and offer financing, insurance and maintenance services to drivers based on data collected on its platform.

To accelerate decision-making, one Toyota executive will be appointed to Grab's board of directors and a dedicated Toyota team member will be seconded to Grab to as an executive officer, with Toyota considering more personnel exchanges in the future. Grab has already forced Uber Technologies Inc.to retreat from Southeast Asia. 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. Uber acquired 27.5 percent of Grab in exchange for the USA firm's Southeast Asian business earlier this year.

Grab's main rival is now Indonesia's Go-Jek which last month said it would invest $500 million to begin expanding overseas.

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