Auto makers invest in the future of mobility
The mobility services landscape has been developing quickly, with ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft being one major catalyst. Recently, auto makers have begun playing a larger role in the development of new mobility technologies through some major investments in and partnerships with these ride-hailing companies. Venture capital investment, it seems, is no longer only for venture capitalists.
The Toyota-Uber partnership
On May 24, 2016, the Toyota Motor Corporation announced a collaborative partnership with Uber. The alliance also involves a strategic investment in Uber by Toyota. The press release explained that the two companies plan to work together in many areas, including developing new leasing options that allow consumers to lease a vehicle and make their payments using money earned from working as an Uber driver. The companies will also collaborate on research.
Shigeki Tomoyama, the senior managing officer of Toyota and the president of Toyota's new in-house company Connected Company, said in a statement that Toyota is excited about using this partnership to provide "secure, convenient and attractive mobility services to customers."
General Motors and Lyft join forces
In early January 2016, Fortune reported on Lyft's announcement that half the investment from its recent $1 billion funding round came from General Motors. In addition, the company said it formed a partnership with GM. The goal: to develop GM self-driving cars and use them as part of Lyft's service. Dan Amman, the president of GM, spoke with Fortune about GM's take on the future of mobility.
"We, at GM, have had the view for a little while that the world of mobility is going to change in the next few years more than it has changed in the last 50 years," Ammann said.
While GM's driverless cars are in the works, it will offer lease financing to Lyft drivers as well as offer them the opportunity to rent cars for short periods of time.
Volkswagen and Gett team up
On the same day Toyota and Uber announced their partnership, Volkswagen Group released a statement detailing its decision to make a $300 million investment in and enter into a strategic partnership with Gett, another fast-growing ride hailing company that is particularly successful in Europe.
Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen, discussed the company's goal to become "a world leading mobility provider by 2025."
As technology continues to play a larger role in mobility services, it seems the role of automakers will continue to grow and develop.
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