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Uber drives off with Toyota in latest ride-hailing partnership

Toyota has just announced a major partnership with Uber, the latest in a growing list of similar deals between traditional car makers and ride-hailing outfits.

The tie-up includes a “strategic investment” by the Japanese car giant in Uber, though the financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Similar to GM’s deal with Uber rival Lyft, Toyota will offer reasonably priced vehicle-leasing opportunities for Uber driver applicants who don’t have access to a suitable car.

The companies said they intend to work together in a range of other areas, too, including the creation of in-car apps to aid the work of Uber drivers, and continued development of their respective research efforts. This presumably includes self-driving technology – an area in which both companies are already deeply involved – though it wasn’t explicitly stated in the release.

Toyota is the latest big-name automotive company to partner with a ride-hailing firm as traditional vehicle manufacturers jostle to join forces with successful startups in related industries. News of Toyota’s partnership with Uber comes on the same day that VW announced it’s investing $300 million in Gett, a ride-hailing service popular in parts of Europe. As we’ve already mentioned, Lyft and GM are also collaborating as part of a $500 million investment by the car maker, as are Google and Fiat Chrysler. And Apple, which is rumored to be developing its own automobile, recently revealed a $1 billon investment in Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing.

The alliances aim to exploit growing interest in areas such as self-driving technology, ride-hailing services, and electric cars, with competition intensifying with every announced partnership.

Commenting on the deal with Uber, Toyota’s Shigeki Tomoyama said, “Ridesharing 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,”

Uber’s chief business officer, Emil Michael, said the car company’s 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.”

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