Toyota makes strategic investment in Uber

25th May 2016
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Toyota Motor Corporation and Uber, have announced a partnership on Tuesday. 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 account such as regulations, business conditions, and customer needs. As part of the partnership, Toyota Financial Services Corporation and Mirai Creation Investment Limited Partnership are making a strategic investment in Uber. The news comes in almost two weeks after Apple announced $1 billion investment in Uber's arch rival in China - Didi Chuxing.

Mirai Creation Investment Limited Partnership is the new investment fund by Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, created to encourage innovation and support the spread of advanced technologies for future generations.

Uber has raised more than $10 billion funding at a valuation of almost $65 billion. Earlier this month, the company announced its global partnership with Alipay, the world’s largest third-party payment platform operated by Ant Financial Services Group. This will enable Chinese travelers to request and pay for Uber rides from either the Uber or Alipay app, in all 400+ cities where Uber operates.

Travis's-talk

As part of Uber-Toyota partnership, the companies will create new leasing options in which car purchasers can lease their vehicles from Toyota Financial Services and cover their payments through earnings generated as Uber drivers. The leasing period will be flexible and based on driver needs. This initiative builds on Uber’s current Vehicle Solutions program.

Toyota and Uber also plan to collaborate in following areas:

  1. developing in-car apps that support Uber drivers,
  2. sharing knowledge and accelerating their respective research efforts, and;
  3. establishing a special fleet program to sell Toyota and Lexus vehicles to Uber.

Uber faces tough competition in India from Ola, the Indian startup dominating the taxi-aggregators segment in the country. However in April 2016, the taxi war turned an ugly turn when Uber had sued Ola for $7.5 million for creating fake accounts to sabotage Uber. The company alleged that Ola created fake accounts to make bookings on Uber only to cancel it once the drivers accepted.

Only a week ago, Uber had withdrawn surge pricing in the national capital Delhi. Arvind Kejriwal led government in Delhi had told the cab aggregator to stick to the prices based on the rates prescribed by government.

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