Grab drives off with US$1bn Toyota investment

Toyota has agreed to invest US$1 billion in Grab, becoming a lead investor in the latter’s ongoing financing round, subjected to closing conditions. The partnership builds on an existing collaboration in the area of connected cars, and seeks to drive the adoption of new mobility solutions across Southeast Asia.

Following the move, one Toyota executive will be appointed to Grab’s board of directors and a dedicated Toyota team member will be seconded to Grab as an executive officer. Marketing has reached out to Grab for comment on the new hire.

Grab plans to work with partners to create a more efficient transport network that will ease traffic congestion in Southeast Asia’s megacities. It also looks to make mobility accessible for all and provide driver-partners with increased income opportunities. The partnership will also allow Grab to further expand its range of O2O services, such as GrabFood and GrabPay, deeper into the region.

This will be done through both companies' work on the Toyota Mobility Service Platform (MSPF) – such as user-based insurance, financing program and predictive maintenance. This is with the aim to enrich the Grab experience for drivers on the Grab platform. Grab and Toyota will also roll-out connected car services, such as telematics-based insurance, which may reduce the cost of insurance premiums for safer Grab drivers, the statement said.

“Our rapid user and revenue growth is a testament to our ability to hyper-localise, efficiently execute and provide the highest efficiency platform in a region as diverse as Southeast Asia. We are honored to be supported by industry leaders including Toyota, Uber, Didi and SoftBank,” Ming Maa, president of Grab, said.

“I am delighted that we are strengthening our collaboration, which utilizes Toyota’s connected technologies, with Grab, Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing company. Going forward, together with Grab, we will develop services that are more attractive, safe and secure for our customers in Southeast Asia,” Shigeki Tomoyama, Toyota executive vice president and president of Toyota’s in-house Connected Car Company, said.

Grab first struck a partnership with Toyota last year to launch a data-focused pilot programme, along with Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co. The project aims to use data analysis to enable Grab to offer its driver partners across the region improved access to connected car services.

This saw Grab sharing data on driving patterns from 100 Toyota cars in Grab’s fleet, captured by Toyota’s data-transmission driving recorder, TransLog. Toyota’s team will then analyse the data set and, based on this analysis, offer recommendations on other connected car services on the Toyota MSPF.

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