Toyota finds ridesharing partner as it invests in Grab

30 August 2017

30 August 2017 Toyota has been revealed as the latest participant in a financing round for car sharing platform Grab, with an undisclosed amount making it the company’s biggest stakeholder. The current investment round for the Singapore-based startup aims to raise $2.5 billion (€2.1 billion) for the ride hailing service, which has already seen large scale investment from Chinese ride hailing heavyweight Didi and tech giant SoftBank, both of which have put $1 billion (€840 million) into the pot. This means the funding round is not the biggest ever achieved in Southeast Asia. Toyota has been looking for a car sharing platform to partner with in order to develop its mobility technologies. Unlike Daimler’s Car2Go or BMW’s DriveNow, both of which have been launched directly by the manufacturers, the Japanese car maker believes a partnership offers more benefits. Toyota executive vice president Didier Leroy said in June 2017: ′We strongly believe this is something we can’t do alone due to the speed of change and due to the agility of many new competitors.’ The need for investment in ridesharing comes as vehicle manufacturers are working out ways of making money from autonomous technology, electrification of vehicles and a changing ownership landscape, where vehicles are more likely to be shared than owned outright. Toyota will record and analyse driving patterns in 100 Grab cars in Singapore through its TransLog devices, and offer recommendations on how other connected car services on the Toyota Mobility Service Platform (MSPF), such as user-based insurance, financing program, and predictive maintenance, could enhance the experience for drivers on the Grab platform. Anthony Tan, Grab’s CEO, comments: ′We are delighted to welcome this investment from Toyota Tsusho [Toyota’s business arm]. It is an affirmation of our hard work, leading position and Southeast Asia’s enormous growth potential. We look forward to working with Toyota Tsusho to move Southeast Asia forward. [Toyota] is a global leader in the automotive sector, and one of the most popular brands with drivers on our platform. We are confident this collaboration will benefit our driver partners and help them serve our passengers well.’ ′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,’ adds Shigeki Tomoyama, senior managing officer of Toyota and president of the connected company. Grab operates private car, motorcycle, taxi and carpooling services across seven countries with 1.2 million drivers. It claims to have a market share of 95% in third-party taxi-hailing and 72% in private-vehicle hailing in Southeast Asia. However, this market share could be under threat, as rival Uber plans to expand its focus in the region.