Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Finance | By Claude Patterson

Toyota Motor to invest USD1 billion in ride-hailing firm Grab

Toyota Motor to invest USD1 billion in ride-hailing firm Grab

A logo of Toyota Motor Corp is seen at the company's showroom in Tokyo, Japan June 14, 2016. Earlier this year, Hyundai also invested in Grab.

It is also the latest collaboration between a global vehicle maker and a technology firm as ride-hailing companies dominate the fast-growing field of mobility services, raising the risk of a future where auto ownership declines in favour of such services.

Toyota's trading arm invested an undisclosed sum in Grab a year ago. The investment is the largest ever of its kind by an carmaker into the ride-hailing industry, according to Grab.

The Singapore-headquartered firm did not disclose how much fresh capital it aims to raise.

FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a Grab office in Singapore March 26, 2018. 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. The company's app has been downloaded onto over 100 million mobile devices and the firm logs over 6 million rides per day.

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. This strong partnership will enable us to become the one-stop mobility platform in Southeast Asia. "Going forward, together with Grab, we will develop services that are more attractive, safe and secure for our customers in Southeast Asia", said Shigeki Tomoyama, Toyota executive VP and president of Toyota's in-house Connected Company.

Toyota will place one of its executives on Grab's board, and a second Toyota team member will serve as an executive officer at the company, which Toyota called the "partner of choice for ride-hailing in the region".

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).

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.

Grab, which is headquartered in Singapore, is a leading player in the ride-share industry in Asia, and earlier this year agreed to acquire USA giant Uber's regional operations. In 2016, General Motors invested $500 million in Lyft, Volkswagen pumped $300 million into Gett, and Honda invested an undisclosed amount in Grab.

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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