Toyota to invest US$1b in Grab's latest funding round

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The investment, which values Grab at around $10 billion, is one of the largest by Toyota outside its own corporate group.

Until March this year, Grab was Uber's biggest competitor in the Asian region. The US$1 billion sum is the largest-ever investment globally by an automaker in the ride-hailing sector.

Some automakers have responded by partnering with makers of ride-hailing apps which dominate the fast-growing field of mobility services, in anticipation of a future of reduced vehicle ownership.

A Toyota executive will be appointed to Grab's board and another Toyota representative is being tapped to be an executive officer at Grab, the company said. Toyota has also backed San Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc. and made investments in Japan Taxi, an Uber rival run by the chairman of Tokyo's biggest taxi operator.

"As a global leader in the automotive industry, Toyota's investment in Grab is based on their conviction in our leadership in driving the adoption of new mobility solutions and expanding O2O mobile services, such as GrabFood and GrabPay, in the region", said Ming Maa, president at Grab.

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.

"We will work with partners like Toyota to continue to transform transportation in Southeast Asia", Grab said in an email.

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Toyota announced today that it has concluded an agreement with ride-sharing app company Grab to strengthen their existing partnership and expand collaboration in Southeast Asia to drive further advances in Mobility as a Service (MaaS).

"Going forward, together with Grab, we will develop services that are more attractive, safe and secure for our customers in Southeast Asia", Toyota executive Shigeki Tomoyama said in a statement.

Grab said it logs six million rides a day via apps downloaded onto over 100 million mobile devices. In addition, collaborations in driving-data-based automotive insurance, financial services for Grab drivers and maintenance services are also contemplated under the new partnership.

Other Grab investors include Japan's Honda Motor Co Ltd, South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co and Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing.

Earlier this year, Uber exchanged its Southeast Asian operations for 27.5% of Singapore-headquartered grab, ending a battle between the two for regional dominance.

Grab is in eight nations in the region, including Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

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