Toyota, Uber establish ride-sharing partnership
Toyota has confirmed plans to make a strategic investment in Uber, setting the stage for a deeper partnership in the ride-sharing industry.
The companies have established a memorandum of understanding to explore various collaboration strategies, starting with trials in countries where ride-sharing is currently expanding.
“Ridesharing has huge potential in terms of shaping the future of mobility,” said Toyota senior managing officer Shigeki Tomoyama. “Through this collaboration with Uber, we would like to explore new ways of delivering secure, convenient and attractive mobility services to customers.”
The companies will initially focus on new leasing options for Uber drivers, allowing Uber drivers to lease Toyota vehicles via the automaker’s finance arm. Payments will be covered by earnings generated via Uber. Leasing periods will be flexible, based on driver needs.
The initiative appears to be similar to General Motors’ partnership with Lyft. The company recently announced plans to offer a short-term rental program for Lyft drivers, with prices starting at just $99 per week.
Both the Toyota and GM initiative appear to address the need for vehicles, which can be a significant hurdle for prospective drivers who do not already own an acceptable car.
Toyota and Uber will also consider collaboration in other areas, ranging from in-car apps to special fleet programs for Toyota and Lexus vehicles.