Toyota Is Pushing Deeper Into The Ride-Hailing Business

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The carmaker will invest an undisclosed amount in Grab, Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing operator, and said it will work with the company to provide services in the region. The latest deal comes a year after Toyota bought a small stake in Uber Technologies as part of alliances it is stitching to explore new revenue models.

“Through this collaboration with Grab, we would like to explore new ways of delivering secure, convenient and attractive mobility services to our fleet customers in Southeast Asia,” Shigeki Tomoyama, senior managing officer of Toyota, said in a statement Wednesday.

Automobile manufacturers are working with and competing against technology companies to figure out how to make money from services to drivers as automation, electrification and on-demand transportation threaten to reshape the current model of individual car ownership. Toyota’s rival Honda Motor has also invested in Grab, its first in a ride-hailing company, in a partnership aimed at expanding motorcycle-hailing operations in Southeast Asia.

Toyota’s investment in Grab will be through the 6 billion yen ($55 million) Next Technology Fund set up in April by unit Toyota Tsusho for opportunities in innovative technologies, products and services.

Grab is aiming to raise $2.5 billion from the latest round of funding. It had previously announced $2 billion in investment from Didi Chuxing and SoftBank Group.

Connected services

Toyota will record and analyze driving patterns in 100 Grab cars in Singapore, and offer recommendations on what connected services it can provide Grab drivers, the two companies said in separate statements.

Besides the stake in Uber, Grab’s main competitor in the region, Toyota is also collaborating with U.S. car-sharing company Getaround. It started testing a new car-sharing technology with Servco Pacific this month in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Grab, which counts more than 1.2 million drivers across seven countries, has also been expanding partnerships beyond automakers. It’s collaborating with Tokyo Century on leasing and rental cars for drivers; it is integrating its services in Singapore with CapitaLand’s network of shopping malls, serviced apartments and offices; and, it has teamed up with the Lippo Group, the Indonesian conglomerate founded by billionaire tycoon Mochtar Riady.