Image: Toyota/Grab

Toyota is to invest $1billion in ride-hailing firm Grab, which will leverage the Japanese carmaker's mobility services platform in Southeast Asia. Singapore-based Grab – which acquired Uber’s assets in the region earlier this year – operates mobile platforms for transportation, micro-payments, financial services, and food and package delivery, as well as the established ride-hailing service.

The two firms have been developing connected services together since August 2017, using driving data collected by Toyota’s TransLog recorders in 100 Grab rental cars. This has been stored and analysed on Toyota’s mobility services platform (MSPF), and collaborations are underway including provision of data for insurance of Grab’s rental fleet in Singapore. The next step is to shift to full-scale implementation of these, and develop and roll out further connected services to advance Mobility as a Service (MaaS) across the region. Financial services for Grab drivers and maintenance services are under consideration, for example.

A Toyota executive is to be appointed to Grab’s board of directors, and a dedicated Toyota team member will be seconded to Grab as an executive officer, underpinning the relationship. “This strong partnership with enable us to become the one-stop mobility platform in Southeast Asia,” said Grab co-founder and CEO Anthony Tan in a statement. “We look forward to executing the same vision [as Toyota] of the future - a future that will provide for safer and more affordable rides, more liveable cities, and millions of new micro-businesses in the digital revolution.”

Other investors in rapidly-growing Grab include Didi Chuxing, Softbank and Uber – which owns a 27.5 pc stake. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi sits on Grab’s board.

-Farah Alkhalisi