Toyota has revealed that it will invest up to $1 billion into the Southeast Asian ride partnership platform known as Grab. Grab raised 2 billion dollars last year from Chinese ride hailing firm Didi Chuxing and Soft-Bank. It has so far raised $5 billion for dating with the latest investment from Toyota.
This investment will see the two firms expanding on the existing partnership and explore strategies for mobility within the region. At the same time the executive of Toyota will be appointed the platform’s board of directors and another team member will become an executive officer within Grab.
Fingers in Several Pies
Grab already has investments from Hyundai, Didi Chuxing, Honda Motor and it made a recent acquisition of Uber’s Asian branch. As such it is slowly cementing its presence in the region. In the same vein, Gran revealed that it opened a 95 percent portion of third party taxi hailing within Southeast Asia and handled 71 percent of the private vehicle rides in July during the previous year.
At this time, it was also running about three million rides per day so it is no wonder that Toyota wants in on the action. Though, the auto manufacturer’s plan may not be about securing a market monopoly even if the emerging ride sharing services like Lyft and Uber are pressuring car manufacturers to be up to speed. Some say it could be about getting access to technology which fits in some place within the brands broader business like automated navigation as this would bring value to the autonomous goals within the next two years.
Like everyone else Toyota is quite enthusiastic about this subject as this is the apparent near future of the auto industry. After all, the brand has already invested $2.8 billion into autonomous tech research though it decided to delay the testing on public roads especially after accidents were had by competitors like Uber and Tesla. Actually it has been doing its trials in a closed facility in Michigan.
Integration Opportunities for Toyota
The investment, which Grab claimed is the largest ever by an automotive brand in the ride hailing sector, will allow the company to expand the range of online to offline services like food delivery and electronic payments within the region. According to Ming Maa the president of Grab the investment by the auto brand is based according to their conviction in the app’s leadership in driving the adoption of new mobility solutions and the expansion of mobile services.
This investment will supposedly allow the company to integrate the services like user based insurance and predictive forms of maintenance on the firm. This could then be an incentive for the drivers to be safer of the roads and that would translate to lower insurance premiums for them. Shigeki Tomoyama, the company’s executive vice president claimed that going forward, they would come up with services that are more attractive and secure for the clients in Southeast Asia. Thus far Toyota has been the main automotive force in the region though there are upsets with improving autonomous technology that could even the playing field for the competition.