Grab drives off with US$1bn Toyota investment

Grab drives off with US$1bn Toyota investment

Grab operates across Asia and agreed to acquire Uber's Southeast Asian business earlier this year.

Wednesday's announcement deepens Toyota's partnership with Grab, following an earlier, undisclosed investment by the automaker's trading arm past year.

Data collected from the recorders could also help Toyota in its own development of next-generation mobility services, including a self-driving electric vehicle it plans to develop for companies to use for tasks such as ride-hailing, package delivery and mobile shops.

A Toyota executive will be appointed to Grab's board and another Toyota official is being tapped to be an executive officer at Grab, the company said.

Specifically, it aims to let Grab expand its range of online-to-offline services such as food delivery and electronic payments in the region.

Toyota is investing a further $US1 billion in ride-sharing giant 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.

Image Credit think4
Image Credit think4

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 vehicle ownership.

"As a global leader in the automotive industry, Toyota's investment in Grab is based on their conviction in our leadership in driving the adoption of new mobility solutions and expanding O2O mobile services, such as GrabFood and GrabPay, in the region", Ming Maa, president of Grab, said in the release.

There has been speculation for several years about a potential IPO for Grab, but in April, CEO Anthony Tan told CNBC it was just one of "many options" for the company.

Toyota, the world's most valuable carmaker with a market capitalization of about $221 billion, has sought partnerships with a pantheon of tech companies including Amazon Inc. and Apple Inc.in a bet that data will be a key part of its future. A future that will provide for safer and more affordable rides, more liveable cities, and millions of new micro businesses in the digital revolution.

Toyota executive VP Shigeki Tomoyama, who is president of hte in-house Connected Company, said the collaboration will utilise Toyota's connected technologies. It also has Southeast Asia's biggest land transportation fleet, delivering over six million rides per day.

In a statement, Toyota said the deal "is aimed at achieving connectivity for Grab's rental auto fleet across Southeast Asia, and at rolling out various connected services throughout the region that utilize vehicle data" stored by Toyota.

Grab now claims over 100 million downloads of its app across eight countries in Asia, including Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and more.

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