Toyota have announced a $1bn investment in Singapore based ride-hailing app Grab, considered the largest ever investment by a car-manufacturer in the global ride-hailing market.
Grab is the biggest ride-hailing app in South-East Asia, and in March Uber sold its businesses in the region in exchange for a 27.5% stake in the company. Grab’s collaboration with Toyota, the world’s most valuable car manufacturer with market capitalization in the region of $221bn, will also see a Toyota executive appointed to Grab’s board.
Toyota executive vice president Shigeki Tomoyama said: “I am delighted that we are strengthening our collaboration, which utilizes Toyota’s connected technologies. Going forward, together with Grab, we will develop services that are more attractive, safe and secure for our customers in Southeast Asia.”
Founded in 2012, Grab is currently valued at around $10bn, compared to the valuation of $62bn for Uber following last month’s stock deal. Grab’s main competition in SE Asia is now Indonesian start-up Go-Jek, which itself transformed from a company of 20 motorbike drivers in 2010 to a fleet of over one million drivers today.
At the end of 2017, Grab said it booked its one billionth customer. It currently stands as the dominant ride-hailing app in Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar. As well as ride-hailing, Grab operated food delivery service GrabFood among numerous other services. Toyota also invested in Grab last year for an undisclosed amount.
Toyota’s investment comes as car-manufacturers worldwide make significant investments in ride-hailing apps. In 2017 both Ford and Google’s parent company Alphabet placed up to $1bn into ride-hailing app Lyft for investment and R&D regarding self-driving vehicles.
The Toyota Prius is also the most-used vehicle in London’s ride-hailing services, with over 12,000 of the vehicles licensed for private hire in 2016.
Toyota’s financial services operating income was £1.9bn ($2.5bn) in the financial year ending March 2018, an 18% increase year-on-year.