Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Economy | By

Toyota Motor to invest US$1 billion in ride-hailing firm Grab

Toyota Motor to invest US$1 billion in ride-hailing firm Grab

In March, Grab boosted its grip on Southeast Asia by buying Uber's business in the region.

According to Grab, this investment is by far the largest made by an automative manufacturer in the ride-hailing sector.

"This investment isn't necessarily about making money, but about getting access to technology that fits in some place in Toyota's broader business", said Edwin Merner, the Tokyo-based president of Atlantis Investment Research Corp., which doesn't own Toyota shares but is invested in Toyota Tsusho.

Since August 2017, Toyota and Grab have been developing connected services for the latter, utilising driving data collected by Toyota's TransLog data-transmission driving recorder.

Under the agreement with Toyota (TM), one of the Japanese company's executives will join Grab's board of directors, and a Toyota employee will be seconded to the startup full-time as an executive officer.

Toyota's investment will allow Grab, which counts peer Didi and Japan's SoftBank Group Corp as investors, to further expand its range of online to offline services, such as food delivery and digital payments, deeper into the region.

But Toyota had also, in 2016, put money in Grab rival Uber - whose South-east Asian operations were acquired by Grab in March - in a strategic investment.


Both companies have already begun collaboration in the field of connected vehicles by, for example, providing driving-data-based automotive insurance for Grab's rental fleet in Singapore through local insurance companies.

Grab and Toyota will roll out connected auto services, such as telematics-based insurance, which could reduce the cost of insurance premiums for safer Grab drivers, said Grab.

Grab and Toyota will also roll-out connected vehicle services, such as telematics-based insurance, which may reduce the cost of insurance premiums for safer Grab drivers. 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. Toyota is an incredible company that has done so much for the world. "We want to be the one-stop mobility platform for users".

"I am delighted that we are strengthening our collaboration, which utilises Toyota's connected technologies, with Grab. Going forward, together with Grab, we will develop services that are more attractive, safe and secure for our customers in Southeast Asia", Shigeki Tomoyama, Toyota executive vice president and president of Toyota's in-house Connected Car Company, said.

How big is Grab today?

Last month, Indonesian ride-hailing and online payment firm Go-Jek said it would enter Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines in the next few months, investing $500 million in its worldwide push. The company's app has been downloaded onto over 100 million mobile devices and the firm logs over 6 million rides per day.

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