Toyota has joined the bandwagon of auto manufacturers investing in ride sharing. The auto giant announced on the 25th of May, 2016 that it would be entering a partnership with Uber. Uber and Toyota would work on creating new leasing options that would allow Uber drivers lease vehicles with Toyota Financial Services providing financing to these drivers. This leasing program will be on flexible terms and drivers can cover their payments through their Uber earnings. Toyota also intends to sell cars to Uber.
Although there are no specifics per the financial value of the investment, it is very likely that this partnership would go beyond car sales or leasing programs. According to statements released by both companies, they would be: “sharing knowledge and accelerating their respective research efforts.”
Possible Partnership Areas
Uber and Toyota’s partnerships would definitely serve their individual interests. For Uber, the company remains committed to improving the transportation sector and giving commuters superior service. Also, Uber has been investing heavily in driverless car projects and mapping technology. Toyota on the other hand has been opening research centers in several places in the U.S and also devised a plan to spend about $1 billion over a 5 year period on research and development of artificial intelligence, robotics and developing self-driving cars. Obviously, both companies have a common interest in self-driving cars and it is only necessary that both sides take advantage of this partnership to reach their shared goal.
For Toyota, an alliance like this is very necessary given that Uber and other rideshare companies are big threats to automakers. Several car manufacturers are trying to work with their competitors, mapping out strategic areas where some form of balance can be struck for the co-existence of both parties. GM has not only started Maven; their own rideshare arm, but has also invested in Lyft. Volkswagen has invested about $300M in Gett. All these are indicators that automakers are trying to kill the competition by joining forces to make the world a better place. This sheds more light on Toyota’s investment in Uber.
What This May Mean for Drivers
Toyota’s decision to sell cars to Uber invariably means Uber drivers stand to lease cars from Uber at even more favourable rates. Lease repayment will be flexible enough that partners and drivers that need to lease cars can do so and still make good profit at the end of the day.
Although Uber and Toyota have remained mute on the value of Toyota’s investment, we hope it’s significant enough to birth innovations that will serve both Uber drivers and the world at large.
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