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Toyota to set up joint venture with Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, investing ¥64.8 billion

The Japan Times

NAGOYA - Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday it will set up a joint venture with Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing Technology Co. and invest a total of ¥64.8 billion ($600 million) in Didi and the new venture, as part of efforts to expand its business in China. The venture, to be set up as early as this fall, will offer ride-hailing drivers a range of services that include vehicle maintenance, insurance and financing. GAC Toyota Motor Co., a venture established by Toyota and China's Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., will also join the project, through which Toyota aims to promote the use of electric vehicles suitable for future mobility services in China -- the world's biggest auto market. Toyota and Didi have already cooperated on leasing vehicles to ride-hailing drivers since last year, as well as in the e-Palette project to develop electric and autonomous vehicles that can be used as mobile stores. Inc. have joined the project.


Toyota considers investment in Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi

The Japan Times

NAGOYA - Toyota Motor Corp. is considering investing up to ¥60 billion ($550 million) in Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing Technology Co. in an effort to expand its business in China, sources close to the matter said Wednesday. Toyota and Didi are looking to set up a joint venture to offer mobility services, including ride-sharing in the world's largest auto market, the sources said. Didi has secured an overwhelming ride-hailing market share in China through the acquisition of Uber Technologies Inc.'s Chinese business. The Chinese ride-hailing service operator has already aligned with Toyota in the so-called e-Palette project to develop electric and autonomous vehicles that can be used as mobile stores, together with other global technology giants, including Amazon.com Inc. The move comes amid Toyota's continuing transformation into a "mobility company" that offers a wide range of services.


Betting on the future of mobility, Toyota pours billions into variety of deals and partnerships

The Japan Times

Everywhere you turn in the transportation industry these days, Toyota Motor Corp. already seems to be there. From batteries and self-driving vehicles to lunar rovers and ride-hailing companies, the world's second-biggest automaker is on an investment spree, pouring more than ¥300 billion into deals and partnerships in recent years. Toyota is placing bets across the board, mimicking technology investors like SoftBank Group Corp. Toyota, Volkswagen and other carmakers face an uncertain future as new technologies and business models ripple through the $2.23 trillion global auto industry. Uber Technologies Inc. has made younger buyers less interested in owning and driving cars, and Tesla Inc.'s success with electric vehicles has spurred bigger rivals to counter with their own products. All told, car sales will be only slightly higher in 2030, while new spending on mobility services will total $1.34 trillion, Accenture predicts.


Autonomous driving startup Pony.ai raises $462 million in Toyota-led funding

The Japan Times

HONG KONG/BEIJING – Autonomous driving firm Pony.ai said it raised $462 million in its latest funding round, led by an investment by Toyota Motor Corp. Toyota invested around $400 million (¥44.2 billion) in the round, Pony.ai said in a statement Wednesday, marking its biggest investment in an autonomous driving company with a Chinese background. The latest fund raising values the three-year-old firm, already backed by Sequoia Capital China and Beijing Kunlun Tech Co., at slightly more than $3 billion. The investment by Japan's largest automaker comes at a time when global carmakers, technology firms, start-ups and investors -- including Tesla, Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo and Uber -- are pouring capital into developing self-driving vehicles. Over the past two years, 323 deals related to autonomous cars raised a total of $14.6 billion worldwide, according to data provider PitchBook, even amid concerns about the technology given its high cost and complexity. The Silicon Valley-based startup Pony.ai -- co-founded by CEO James Peng, a former executive at China's Baidu, and chief technology officer Lou Tiancheng, a former Google and Baidu engineer -- is already testing autonomous vehicles in California, Beijing and Guangzhou.


Autonomous driving startup Pony.ai raises $462 million in Toyota-led funding

The Japan Times

HONG KONG/BEIJING – Autonomous driving firm Pony.ai said on Wednesday it has raised $462 million in its latest funding round, led by an investment by Japan's largest automaker Toyota Motor Corp. Toyota invested around $400 million (¥44.2 billion) in the round, Pony.ai said in a statement, marking its biggest investment in an autonomous driving company with a Chinese background. The latest fund raising values the three-year-old firm, already backed by Sequoia Capital China and Beijing Kunlun Tech Co, at slightly more than $3 billion. The investment by Toyota comes at a time when global car makers, technology firms, start-ups and investors -- including Tesla, Alphabet Inc's Waymo and Uber -- are pouring capital into developing self-driving vehicles. Over the past two years, 323 deals related to autonomous cars raised a total of $14.6 billion worldwide, according to data provider PitchBook, even amid concerns about the technology given its high cost and complexity. The Silicon Valley-based startup Pony.ai -- co-founded by CEO James Peng, a former executive at China's Baidu, and chief technology officer Lou Tiancheng, a former Google and Baidu engineer -- is already testing autonomous vehicles in California, Beijing and Guangzhou.