Toyota has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the ride sharing company, Uber. The agreement allows Uber drivers to lease a vehicle through Toyota Financial Services and use the revenues from driving to make their payments. The advantage of the union is that Toyota can offer Uber drivers flexible leases tailored to this industry. And while they offer ride sharing leases, they are also working on a line of Toyota and Lexus fleet vehicles specifically for Uber drivers. The collaboration is also working towards an app to help Uber drivers.
“Ridesharing has huge potential in terms of shaping the future of mobility,” said Shigeki Tomoyama, senior managing officer of Toyota, in a release. “Through this collaboration with Uber, we would like to explore new ways of delivering secure, convenient and attractive mobility services to customers.”
“We’re excited that Toyota, the largest automobile manufacturer in the world, is making a strategic investment in Uber as part of a broader global partnership,” said Emil Michael, chief business officer of Uber. “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 agreement comes on the heels of GM’s backing Lyft, another ride sharing service. GM’s investment ($500 million) has developed the program Express Lift which allows drivers to rent a GM for $99/week, which includes insurance and maintenance.
According to Lyft and GM, drivers who reach at least 65 rides a week won’t have to pay the rental fee. Those who give at least 40 rides a week will pay the $99 fee. However, drivers who don’t reach 40 rides a week will need to pay the $99 fee plus 20 cents per mile. Rentals are available up to eight weeks at a time.
The two companies are also working towards an autonomous vehicle with ride hailing abilities. It seems a natural progression for GM, since according to Wired, they have been working on this technology for over a decade.
“We see the future of personal mobility as connected, seamless and autonomous,” says GM President Dan Ammann. “With GM and Lyft working together, we believe we can successfully implement this vision more rapidly.”
As we move into this age of technology and ride sharing it’s interesting to see how the car manufacturers are getting in on the action. Even Ford is rumored to be working with Google to develop their own self driving vehicles. Ride sharing is gaining momentum nation wide so combining the financial strength and business experience from car manufacturers with the innovation and technology from these ride sharing companies is a partnership that can move away from trying to hail a yellow taxi into a more efficient and convenient, right at your door service for the consumer.