Toyota investing $1 billion in Grab

Jonathan Loh

The value of six-year-old Grab will be just over $10 billion after the investment, said a person familiar with the matter. In March this year, it acquired Uber's Southeast Asian assets to be the dominant ride-hailing player in the region. It invested an undisclosed sum in the United States company in 2016. The US$1 billion sum is the largest-ever investment globally by an automaker in the ride-hailing sector.

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.

A Toyota executive will be appointed to Grab's board, and another Toyota employee will be seconded to Grab to as an executive officer.

Grab added that the investment will allow Grab to further expand its range of online-to-offline services, such as GrabFood and GrabPay, deeper into the region.

On April 8, Uber's rideshare service disappeared and commuters in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam switched over to the Grab app.

"We will work with partners like Toyota to continue to transform transportation in Southeast Asia", Grab said in an email.

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The data could also help Toyota develop its own next-generation mobility services, including a self-driving electric vehicle aimed at companies for use in tasks such as ride hailing, package delivery and mobile shops.

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.

The two companies already had a relationship: Toyota's trading arm invested an undisclosed amount in Grab a year ago. 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. This strong partnership will enable us to become the one-stop mobility platform in Southeast Asia. The company's app has been downloaded onto over 100 million mobile devices and the firm logs over 6 million rides per day.

"Together with Grab, we will develop services that are more attractive, safe and secure for our customers in Southeast Asia", he said.

Grab, which is headquartered in Singapore, is a leading player in the ride-share industry in Asia, and earlier this year agreed to acquire U.S. giant Uber's regional operations. General Motors Co. and Honda Motor Co. are among carmakers that have invested in ride-hailing applications.

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