The deal extends Toyota's cooperation with Grab, the largest ride-hailing service in Southeast Asia, the carmaker said in a statement Wednesday, without disclosing what percentage of Grab it will own.
The carmaker first invested an undisclosed amount in Grab in August previous year, after it invested in US-based Uber in 2016 in a partnership for a financing programme that allowed Uber drivers to lease vehicles from Toyota and drive for Uber to cover the payments.
South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co and Japan's Honda Motor Co Ltd have also previously funded Grab, which said it has achieved run-rate revenue of over $1 billion. Since then, Grab has boosted its grip on Southeast Asia by buying Uber's business in the region. That round quietly closed at the start of 2018, Grab has confirmed but so far it hasn't said who put up the additional money.
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Besides the namesake app that we're familiar with, Grab operates online-to-offline (O2O) mobile platforms in transportation, food and package delivery, mobile payments and financial services in 217 cities across eight ASEAN countries. Meanwhile Japan's SoftBank Group Corp - also an investor in Grab and Uber - last month said it would invest $2.25 billion in GM's autonomous vehicle unit Cruise.
Toyota already invested an undisclosed amount in Grab previous year.
This is not Toyota's first foray into ride-hailing.
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This is Toyota's second investment in Grab. Toyota has installed its data recorders in Grab-operated rental cars to collect driving data - a similar strategy it has employed with Japan Taxi, said Bloomberg.
Grab and Toyota will roll out connected vehicle services, such as telematics-based insurance, which could reduce the cost of insurance premiums for safer Grab drivers, said Grab.
Grab says that this investment allows it to further expand its range of O2O services, such as GrabFood and GrabPay, deeper into the region. "Going forward, together with Grab, we will develop services that are more attractive, safe and secure for our customers in Southeast Asia", said Shigeki Tomoyama, Toyota Executive Vice President and President of Toyota's in-house Connected Car Company. In particular, that will involve close collaboration with the Toyota Mobility Service Platform (MSPF), which is working on areas such as user-based insurance, new types of financial packages and predictive auto maintenance. The two companies will look for future collaborations aimed to achieve more-efficient ride-hailing businesses and for developing future mobility service solutions and MaaS vehicles.
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Grab said it logs six million rides a day via apps downloaded onto over 100 million mobile devices.