Overnight Uber and Toyota announced that they are partnering up, with the automaker also making a "strategic investment" in the ride-sharing firm.
As part of today's announcement, Toyota will "create leasing options" for Uber drivers that are paid off through earnings from the ride sharing service. This new service reportedly "builds on" Uber's Vehicle Solutions program, which offers leases and discounts on new vehicles.
The companies will also explore other avenues of collaboration, including trial programs in select markets, knowledge sharing, developing apps to help support Uber drivers, and "establishing a special fleet program to sell Toyota and Lexus vehicles to Uber".
Toyota and Uber didn't announce any financial details related to the deal, such as the size of Toyota's investment or its valuation of Uber.
Toyota will gain a stake in the ride-sharing company through its financial services arm, along with Mirai Creation Investment Limited Partnership, a fund it created in 2015 with Sumitomo Mitsui Bank to invest in "promising businesses ... that can transform the future".
"Ridesharing has huge potential in terms of shaping the future of mobility. Through this collaboration with Uber, we would like to explore new ways of delivering secure, convenient and attractive mobility services to customers," stated Shigeki Tomoyama, president of Toyota's Connected Company.
Emil Michael, Uber's chief business officer, added, "Toyota vehicles are among the most popular cars on the Uber platform worldwide and we look forward to collaborating with Toyota in multiple ways going forward, starting with the expansion of our vehicle financing efforts".
This tie-up between Toyota and Uber is just the latest in a series of moves in the ride-sharing and car-sharing arenas by established automakers. For example, earlier this year, GM setup the Maven car sharing service and bought into Lyft, Uber's chief US rival.
Update — Australia
According to the Beck Angel, Toyota Australia's corporate affairs manager: "The partnership with Uber presents new opportunities for both Toyota Australia and Toyota Financial Services. At this stage we do not have any immediate plans for the local market, however, we look forward to starting these discussions in the states where Uber has been legalised."
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