SHANGHAI –Toyota said it plans to invest $600 million in Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing as well as a new joint venture as the companies seek to develop connected and electric vehicle technologies in China.
The move accelerates a trend in China which has seen automakers launch their own ride-hailing services, and ride-hailing companies such as Didi team with automakers to develop purpose-built cars for their services.
It also comes as the auto and communications industries develop the next generation of connected vehicle technologies, including self-driving and so-called vehicle-to-everything technology, with the advancement of 5G network technology.
Toyota said Thursday that the new joint venture would include the Japanese automaker’s Chinese partnership with Guangzhou Automobile Group, and would see the companies combining services and technologies to work on fleet management, car maintenance and car rental services.
That collaboration will utilize Toyota’s connected technologies and next-generation battery electric vehicles, Toyota’s Executive Vice President Shigeki Tomoyama said.
Toyota, which has said it aims to get half of its global sales from electrified vehicles by 2025, has tapped Chinese battery makers including Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. and BYD to aid it in the shift to electricity-powered cars. The move is in line with global regulations and a push among automakers to develop the new-energy vehicle industry.
The automaker has also said it would set up a joint venture to develop connected vehicles with its affiliated Japanese supplier Denso Corp.