Toyota investing $1 billion in ride-hailing company Grab

Southeast Asia’s Grab lands $1B from Toyota at a $10B valuation		
		
	Jon Russell

       @	   
   	8 hours

To accelerate decision-making, one Toyota executive will be appointed to Grab's board of directors and a dedicated Toyota team member will be seconded to Grab to as an executive officer, with Toyota considering more personnel exchanges in the future.

The deal extends Toyota's cooperation with Grab, the largest ride-hailing service in Southeast Asia, the carmaker said in a statement Wednesday, without disclosing what percentage of Grab it will own.

General Motors Co has invested in USA ride services firm Lyft, whose rival Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] is also backed by Toyota.

When asked about other investors in this round, a Grab spokesman told The Business Times: "Toyota will be one of our lead investors for this round". Grab recently took over Uber's Southeast Asia operations after years of competition, and is now going head-to-head in Indonesia with rival Go-jek.

Japan's SoftBank Group Corp last month announced it would invest $2.25 billion in the Cruise autonomous vehicle unit of General Motors Co, while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Jaguar Land Rover Automotive PLC have agreed to supply vehicles for Alphabet Inc's self-driving auto subsidiary Waymo. Go-jek is expected to expand its operations outside Indonesia this year in countries such as Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. That round quietly closed at the start of 2018, Grab has confirmed but so far it hasn't said who put up the additional money.

Toyota's trading arm invested an undisclosed sum in Grab past year. In March this year, it acquired Uber's Southeast Asian assets to be the dominant ride-hailing player in the region.

From there, the investments grew - another $US350 million from Didi and China Investment Corporation in 2015; $US750 million from Softbank, Didi and Honda in 2016, then $US2.5 billion from Softbank, Didi and Toyota in 2017. 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. In addition, collaborations in driving-data-based automotive insurance, financial services for Grab drivers and maintenance services are also contemplated under the new partnership.

Updates with Toyota's earlier Grab stake in fifth paragraph. 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. The company's app has been downloaded onto over 100 million mobile devices and the firm logs over 6 million rides per day.

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.

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