June 10, 2016

Toyota, Uber Joining Hands for Investment, Lease Partnership

Toyota and Uber are joining hands for a strategic partnership in which Japanese automaker Toyota will invest in Uber. This deal is the latest in high-profile deals between automakers and ride-sharing services.

The deal encases that Uber drivers can get leased cars from Toyota and can pay the lease amount by earnings generated as Uber drivers. The tenure of the lease is flexible as per driver’s needs. Both companies said that “the plan to offer vehicles to Uber drivers through a new leasing program initiated by Toyota’s lending unit. The program will take place in U.S and other markets but not in Japan.”

The companies did not disclose the amount of the investment, but a reliable source tells us that the amount is less than $100 million. This is less than what the other automakers have invested in ride sharing services. Toyota is making the strategic investment through its unit Toyota Financial Services Corporation and Mirai Creation Investment Limited Partnership.

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German automaker Volkswagen announced recently it was investing $300 million in Gett, a small ride sharing services. Early this year, General Motors announced that it invested $500 million in Lyft, a major rival of Uber in US and Apple has also invested $1 billion in Chinese homegrown competitor of Uber, Didi. Toyota’s investment is less than the competitors, but the companies hope that their strategic partnership will be better for both the companies.

Toyota is taking the self-driving technology very seriously and has made a massive investment in researching the technology. Toyota and Uber both are investing in the self-driving technology for cars and this purpose; Toyota has built a research centre. The research centre focuses on two main technologies; autonomous vehicles and robotics.

“Toyota is a global leader in the automotive industry, and Toyota vehicles are among the most popular cars on the Uber platform worldwide,” Uber said in a statement.

“We are proud to partner with Toyota in a variety of ways, including the expansion of our vehicle financing program.”

The investment of Toyota in Uber will help Uber to expand its financial services to its drivers. The investment will also help in Uber’s Xchange program. Although Toyota did not mention that it is investing in Uber for self-driving technology, a statement by a representative of Toyota indicates towards it.

Toyota is interested in exploring the future of transportation with Uber. The companies have “entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore collaboration, starting with trials, in the world of ridesharing in countries where ridesharing is expanding, taking various factors into accounts such as regulations, business conditions, and customer needs.”

Photo by Jim, the Photographer

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