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Uber and Toyota Buddy-Up - Will It Work Out As Well As Toyota's Tesla Stake?

In a new arrangement, Toyota and Uber become linked.

Toyota and Uber announced the beginnings of a new partnership today. By entering into a memorandum of understanding (MOU), both companies have agreed to work together in markets where ride-sharing is developing. Toyota Financial Services Corporation and Mirai Creation Investment Limited Partnership are making a strategic investment in Uber to firm up the partnership. The last time Toyota took an ownership stake in a disruptive transportation company it made hundreds of millions of dollars from the investment. That profitable Toyota investment was, of course, in Tesla Motors.

Key to the new partnership, the companies will create new leasing options for vehicle users from Toyota Financial Services. The idea is that these vehicle lessees will cover their payments through earnings generated as Uber drivers. The leasing terms will be based on the driver’s individual needs. This new concept is based upon Uber’s current Vehicle Solutions program. General Motors and Lyft recently entered into a similar type of program.

For those who are not familiar with ride-sharing for profit, many drivers in the U.S. already lease, rent, or buy a vehicle specifically to earn a living by operating as a full-time ride-share provider. Although often thought os as a part-time way for vehicle owners to make a little spare cash, the reality is that many, if not most, Uber drivers are professionals who make it a living. In the Northwest, some locations have even considered unionizing – with the support of some taxi groups.

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