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.
Global technology companies such as Amazon.com Inc. have joined the project.
“We look forward to combining Didi’s expertise in AI-based large-scale mobility operations and Toyota’s leading connected vehicle technology to build a next-generation intelligent transportation framework for sustainable cities,” said Stephen Zhu, Didi’s senior vice president, in a statement.
In a bid to transform itself into a “mobility company,” Toyota has established Monet Technologies Inc. with investment and telecommunication giant SoftBank Group Corp. to develop new technologies including self-driving cars.
Toyota also said in April it would jointly invest $1 billion in Uber Technologies Inc.’s new subsidiary to develop autonomous vehicles together with SoftBank Group and auto parts supplier Denso Corp.