Toyota invests in Uber rival Grab, to install recorders in rental cars

Shigeki Tomoyama, senior managing officer of Toyota and president of the Connected Company said: “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”.

The investment is the latest in a Southeast Asian startup as major companies seek growth in the region’s huge developing economies with young, tech-savvy demographics.

Toyota Tsusho Corp., the automaker’s trading arm, will invest an undisclosed amount in Grab, Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing operator.

This is the first investment made by Toyota’s Next Technology Fund, launched in April to help the company move into new markets and explore new technologies.

The funding round was led by existing backers Chinese ride-hailing peer Didi Chuxing and Japan’s SoftBank.

Last month, Grab said that Didi and Softbank would add $2 billion and that $500 million would come from other sources, making it South-East Asia’s biggest-ever single round of financing.

“Toyota’s team will…analyze the data set and, based on this analysis, offer recommendations on how other connected vehicle services on the Toyota Mobility Service Platform (MSPF)-such as user-based insurance, financing program, and predictive maintenance-could enhance the Grab experience for drivers on the Grab platform”, the ride-hailing firm said in its statement. The latter is where it fights Uber, which can now increase focus on our region after waving the white flag in China.

The ride-hailing sector is now dominated by technology firms, but automakers such as Toyota, Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), and General Motors have been investing in tie-ups with these service providers to hedge against the shift in the vehicle market away from private ownership.

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