Toyota and Volkswagen to Ride-Sharing Companies: 'Take Our Money!'
Not wanting to be left out of the mobility party, Toyota and Volkswagen recently invested in two ride-sharing companies, becoming the latest automakers to sink cash into the sharing economy.
Toyota invested a rumored $100 million in the ubiquitous ride-sharing company Uber, while Volkswagen, which has to meter out its dough carefully (thanks to a pesky little scandal), dropped $300 million on Uber’s taxi-hailing rival Gett.
Mobility services have the potential to make big, big bucks — something automakers always have a hankering for. Wanting a thick slice of that pie, many car companies are adding mobility to their long-term growth strategies.
Toyota’s gambit will see its products offered to Uber drivers through a tailor-made leasing program. Lease terms would be flexible, with payments made through their Uber earnings. Joint projects could crop up later this year.
Gett, an Israel-based company operating in 60 European cities, as well as New York and Moscow, recently took over half of London’s taxi fleet. The company wants to target more of the U.S. and European market, and that’s where Volkswagen’s cash proves useful.
The embattled automaker seems to have made a safe bet on Gett, which saw its revenue grow 300 percent last year — something Volkswagen can only dream of. Gett expects to make half a billion dollars this year.
Both investments sound big, but they’re big-sized when compared to General Motors’ $500 million gamble on ride-sharing service Lyft earlier this year. Ford Motor Company chose an in-house option for its entry into the mobility field, creating the subsidiary Ford Smart Mobility LLC in March to develop salable products.
[Sources: Automotive News, Wall Street Journal]
I lease cheap cars ($200 - $400) a month. The cars pay for themselves when my drivers drive them, get automatic debit payments and then get tips. So far they are happy, non-unionized drivers who can't easily do much else. All you gotta do is hand me the money for the car payments and my own personal HELLCAT sickness.