TOKYO – Japan’s top automaker Toyota Motor Corp. is investing $1 billion in Grab, the leading ride-hailing company in Southeast Asia, the company said Wednesday.
Toyota said it reached a deal with Grab Holdings to strengthen the existing partnership to grow in mobility services in the region.
A Toyota executive will be appointed to Grab’s board and another Toyota official is being tapped to be an executive officer at Grab, the company said.
Grab, which is similar to Uber in the U.S., is in eight nations in the region, including Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.
Uber’s Southeast Asian operations were acquired by Grab earlier this year. Uber retained a 27.5 percent stake in the new merged entity.
Toyota was initially cautious about ride-sharing and autonomous-driving technology.
In recent years, the maker of the Camry sedan, Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury models has been aggressively playing catch-up, signing on partners around the world.
Grab, based in Singapore, has recently attracted investments from SoftBank, a Japanese technology and telecommunications company, and Didi Chuxing, a Chinese ride-sharing and autonomous driving company.
In Japan, where Uber has been trying to grow, ride-sharing is facing resistance from the nation’s powerful networking of cab companies, especially in urban areas like Tokyo. Toyota supplies the bulk of the vehicles used by such cab companies.