The investment makes Toyota the largest global automaker involved in ride-sharing. By comparison, GM has invested about $500 million in Lyft in the U.S.
In the short-term, Toyota will appoint one of its executives to Grab’s board of directors once the investment is completed around the end of June, Reuters reported. Toyota and Grab aren’t strangers. The automaker invested an undisclosed amount in Grab last year and it has used data recorders in the ride-sharing firm’s vehicles to collect information about the way its rental cars are used.
What Toyota has in store for Grab over the long-term remains unclear, but the automaker’s investment is one of many it and its rivals have made into ride-sharing and self-driving cars as they seek to transition from mere car builders to full-scale mobility providers.
Grab offers Toyota a full portfolio of mobility options. In Singapore and seven other countries in Southeast Asian, Grab’s operations include various levels of ride-sharing similar to Uber and Lyft in the U.S., plus car rental and short-term car-sharing, bicycle- and scooter-sharing, food delivery, and even a mobile payment system. Grab’s reach into the mobility sector in Asia extends far beyond what Uber and Lyft offer in the U.S.