Toyota to make 'strategic investment' in Uber

Toyota to make 'strategic investment' in Uber image

Text: Eric Tipan / Photos: Toyota Press | posted May 26, 2016 08:56

Partnership will explore car-sharing platform and leasing options

As online transport systems revolutionize the way people use cars, the world's leading automaker sees major benefits in partnering with one of the world's premiere ridesharing companies.

Toyota Motor Corporation has just entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Uber 'to explore collaboration, starting with trials, in the world of ridesharing in countries where ridesharing is expanding, taking various factors into account such as regulations, business conditions, and customer needs.'

Part of the partnership involves Toyota Financial Services Corporation and Mirai Creation Investment Limited Partnership making a 'strategic investment' in Uber.

This collaboration between Toyota and Uber will begin with trials in seeking ways to 'establish new services' and 'to offer new value to customers.'

For starters, new leasing options under Toyota Financial Services will be made available to car buyers with payments to be made using earnings generated as an Uber partner.

Both companies intend to make the leasing period flexible and 'based on drivers needs' as based on Uber's Vehicle Solutions Program.

Aside from exploring the ridesharing platform and leasing options, Toyota and Uber will work on developing in-car apps that support Uber drivers and also establish a special fleet program to sell Toyota and Lexus vehicles to Uber drivers.

"Ridesharing has huge potential in terms of shaping the future of mobility. Through this collaboration with Uber, we would like to explore new ways of delivering secure, convenient and attractive mobility services to customers," said Shigeki Tomoyama, senior managing officer of Toyota Motor Corporation.

"We're excited that Toyota, the largest automobile manufacturer in the world, is making a strategic investment in Uber as part of a broader global partnership. Toyota vehicles are among the most popular cars on the Uber platform worldwide and we look forward to collaborating with Toyota in multiple ways going forward, starting with the expansion of our vehicle financing efforts," said Emil Michael, Chief Business Officer of Uber.

Toyota isn't the only one investing in online transport/rideshare technology. GM invested $500M earlier this year in Lyft, a staunch Uber competitor. Volkswagen also confirmed ties with Gett, an operator primarily in Europe, Russia and Israel.