Toyota to offer 'Total-care Service' to 1,500 Grab cars

Singapore

ASIA'S biggest carmaker Toyota Motor is offering a service to Grab that will allow Toyota to collect real-time vehicle information to tailor fleet management, automotive insurance and vehicle management services for Grab in Singapore.

Called the Total-care Service, it will be offered to 1,500 Toyota vehicles owned by Grab through its subsidiary GrabRentals. Driving data will be collected by Toyota's in-vehicle data transmission device, TransLog, and sent to a shared information platform.

The service will start rolling out early next year. This move follows Toyota's US$1 billion investment into Grab, announced in June. Grab and Toyota said in a joint statement on Tuesday that both companies will work to increase the share of Toyota vehicles in Grab's fleet in the region by 25 per cent by 2020.

For Grab, the initiative represents an opportunity for the firm to cut down on operational expenses, namely maintenance costs and insurance premiums.

Toyota's affiliated insurance company Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance will offer telematics-based automotive insurance to GrabRentals, allowing for insurance premium reduction.

Maintenance for each vehicle - provided by Borneo Motors, the authorised distributor for Toyota in Singapore - will be optimised based on driving and vehicle condition data. Grab said that the driving data collected will also be used to improve driver safety.

Since the launch of telematics on the Grab driver app last year, there has been a 50 per cent reduction in speeding incidents and 20 per cent reduction in hard braking and sudden acceleration, which are potential causes of road accidents, said the firm.

The Total-care Service will eventually be rolled out in phases to Grab-owned Toyota vehicles across South-east Asia. The service was developed by Toyota specially for ridehailing companies. It comes at a time when automotive firms are positioning themselves for a future where individual car ownership has largely been disrupted by automated driving and the sharing economy.

Hyundai Motor Group invested an undisclosed amount in Grab in January, and a further US$250 million in November. Last Friday, Grab announced that motorcycle maker Yamaha was investing US$150 million in the company.

Russell Cohen, head of regional operations at Grab, told The Business Times: "Each of them bring something quite different and complementary to our business in the different markets. With Toyota, it's very much related to what we call our "four-wheels business" - our car business. They're the largest manufacturer across South-east Asia and the most popular vehicle for our drivers across the whole region."

Meanwhile, the partnership with Hyundai is focused on the use of electric vehicles. Mr Cohen said: "It's another option and it's an emerging and interesting technology. We think that there's a whole range of interesting use cases around total cost of ownership for our drivers, and around certain environmental and fuel-efficiency considerations."

Grab's tie-up with Yamaha will see the two developing motorcycle-ride services with a focus on Indonesia, where the popular mode of transport is via motorcycles. "Each of those partners has a very specific automotive focus, and that's why we've chosen to partner with them," said Mr Cohen.