Toyota to Lease Vehicles to Uber Drivers

May 31, 2016
steve@automotive.ventures

Toyota and Uber have formed a ride-sharing alliance that will allow Uber drivers to more easily lease Toyota vehicles.

Automotive News reports that Toyota Motor Corp.will make a strategic investment in Uber.

As part of the partnership, Toyota will create new leasing options in which car purchasers can lease their vehicles from Toyota Financial Services and cover their payments through earnings generated as Uber drivers.

“Ride-sharing 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’s recently created in-house companies.

The investment is small, and Toyota has no interest in taking a big position in the ride-sharing company or eventually controlling it. Toyota could easily get out of the investment if the partners decide to go their separate ways. The Japanese carmaker wants to build its expertise about how consumers use ride-sharing services.

Toyota and Uber hope to begin providing the new leasing options by the second half of this year, said Keisuke Kirimoto, a Toyota spokesman.

“We realize that this collaboration has potential, but we want to start it out as a pilot project,” Kirimoto said. “We want to explore and then see what will be possible.”

Toyota and Uber said the collaboration will start with trials in ride-sharing, in countries where ride-sharing is expanding. The two companies will explore collaboration in other areas, such as developing in-car apps that support Uber drivers.