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Toyota, Volkswagen Announce Partnerships With Ride-Hailing Services

May 26, 2016

TOYOTA CITY, Japan, and WOLFSBURG, Germany — On Tuesday, both Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen announced partnerships with competing ride-hailing services.

Toyota announced a partnership with ride-hailing giant Uber, while Volkswagen announced a partnership with lesser-known but reportedly fast-growing Gett. While both manufacturers sought partnerships with ride-hailing services, their approach to the newly forged relationships will differ slightly.

Toyota has entered a memorandum of understanding with Uber to explore collaboration, beginning with trials in countries where ridesharing is expanding. Toyota also announced that its financial services corporation and Mirai Creation Investment Limited Partnership will be making a strategic investment in Uber.

As part of the proposed partnership, the companies will create new flexible leasing options to allow car purchasers to lease their vehicles from Toyota Financial Services and cover their payments through earnings generated as Uber drivers, according to the announcement. This new leasing option will reportedly build upon Uber’s current Vehicle Solution’s program, which already offers an unlimited-mileage lease program with flexible terms, small down payment and the ability to have payments subtracted from earnings.

“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,” said Shigeki Tomoyama, senior managing officer of Toyota Motor Corp. and president of the Connected Company, one of Toyota Motor Corporation’s recently created in-house companies.

Toyota and Uber also stated they are exploring further collaborations in a variety of other areas, like developing in-car apps that support Uber Drivers, sharing knowledge and accelerating their respective research efforts, and establishing a special fleet program to sell Toyota and Lexus vehicles to Uber drivers.

Volkswagen will be making a $300 million strategic investment in Gett, a global ride hailing service provider. This partnership, the company stated, is based on a joint growth strategy to expand on-demand mobility services in Europe.

Gett is one of the leading providers in the European ride-hailing market, according to the company. It is currently available in 60 cities worldwide, including London, Moscow and New York City. Its business model, unlike Uber, is based exclusively on licensed drivers who have a permit to carry passengers.

"The Volkswagen Group and Gett is a great strategic partnership. The pay-per-ride domain is growing rapidly. In that context, Gett provides VW with the technology to expand beyond car ownership to on-demand mobility for consumers and businesses," said Shahar Waiser, Gett's founder and CEO.

The Volkswagen Group’s goal with this partnership is to generate a substantial share of its sales revenue from the ride-hailing market by 2025.

“Alongside our pioneering role in the automotive business, we aim to become a world leading mobility provider by 2025,” says Matthias Müller, chairman of the board of management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. "Within the framework of our future Strategy 2025, the partnership with Gett marks the first milestone for the Volkswagen Group on the road to providing integrated mobility solutions that spotlight our customers and their mobility needs."

Completion of Volkswagen’s transaction is still subject to merger control clearance by antitrust authorities, the company stated. Matthias Müller and Shahar Waiser will be announcing further details in the coming week.

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