Toyota makes record $1 billion investment in ride-hailing firm Grab

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Toyota makes record $1 billion investment in ride-hailing firm Grab

The automaker on Wednesday said by deepening the partnership, it hoped to achieve connectivity for Grab's rental vehicle fleet across Southeast Asia and offer financing, insurance and maintenance services to drivers based on data collected on its platform. The US$1 billion sum is the largest-ever investment globally by an automaker in the ride-hailing sector.

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. Toyota has installed its data recorders in Grab-operated rental cars to collect driving data - a similar strategy it has employed with Japan Taxi.

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". The firm also offers online to offline services, such as food delivery and digital payments, which it aims to expand deeper into the region using funds from its latest financing round.

Toyota is the lead investor in Grab's ongoing financing round, launched following Grab's takeover of Uber's Southeast Asian assets.

Grab will collaborate with Toyota on how connected auto 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.

Through this new agreement, Toyota and Grab plan to shift into full-scale implementation of services they have been developing to customers.

Toyota put money into Grab via its Next Technology Fund a year ago, but this time around the capital comes directly from the parent company. General Motors Co. and Honda Motor Co. are among carmakers that have invested in ride-hailing applications.

Toyota, the world's most valuable carmaker with a market capitalization of about $221 billion, has sought partnerships with a pantheon of tech companies including Amazon Inc. and Apple Inc.in a bet that data will be a key part of its future. "We want to be the one-stop mobility platform for users".

Toyota executive VP Shigeki Tomoyama, who is president of hte in-house Connected Company, said the collaboration will utilise Toyota's connected technologies.

Grab will work with Toyota on how connected vehicle services on the Toyota Mobility Service Platform - such as user-based insurance, financing programme and predictive maintenance - can enrich the Grab experience for drivers on the Grab platform.

How big is Grab today?

Grab now claims over 100 million downloads of its app across eight countries in Asia, including Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and more. It also has Southeast Asia's biggest land transportation fleet, delivering over six million rides per day.

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