Toyota Is Making a Secretive Investment in Uber
The deal is being played close to the vest, but Toyota says it will supply drivers with special lease deals.
Toyota and Uber are joining forces. The carmaker announced today that it's not only making a strategic investment in the ride-sharing start-up, but will also be offering special lease deals for Uber drivers.
Much of the specifics of the deal, including the total amount of money involved in the investment and the nature of the leasing deals, is not yet known. According to Bloomberg, Uber did not discuss the size of the transaction, and Toyota did not respond to a request for further comment.
“Toyota is a global leader in the automotive industry and Toyota vehicles are among the most popular cars on the Uber platform worldwide,” Uber told TechCrunch. “We are proud to partner with Toyota in a variety of ways, including the expansion of our vehicle financing program.”
Uber's existing vehicle finance program is known as Uber Xchange, and offers 36-month leases that include automatic weekly payments and unlimited mileage on new vehicles for the company's drivers. The program currently offers vehicles from Toyota, GM, Ford, Chrysler, Hyundai, and Nissan; it's not clear whether those other brands will be forced out of Xchange under the terms of the new deal, or how the new, Toyota-centric deal changes the current arrangement.
The news makes Toyota the second carmaker to confirm an investment in a ride-sharing service on this day alone. Earlier today, Volkswagen announced a $300 million investment in Gett, an Uber competitor that primarily uses an app-based system to hail taxis. Between those two deals, General Motors' partnership with Lyft, and Apple's billion-dollar investment in Didi Chuxing, shacking up with a big-time corporate sugar daddy seems to have become all the rage with the world's innocent young ride-sharing companies.