Today In Automakers Befriending Ride-Sharing Apps: Toyota Investing In Uber, VW Teaming Up With Gett

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What’s an automaker to do when it wants to get into the ride-sharing game, and make some money off people who might not ever buy a car but will definitely ride in one, without starting from scratch? Grab a buddy, of course: Toyota is plunking money into Uber and Volkwswagen says it’s teaming up with Gett.

Like GM and Lyft, and Fiat Chrysler and Google before them, the automakers are hoping to hitch their apple wagons to these technology stars, lest they be completely out of the loop with customers who are hiring rides instead of driving their own vehicles.

Toyota didn’t disclose how much it’s investing in Uber, but says it will offer a car leasing program to drivers that will let them pay off their vehicles with their earnings.

VW is pouring $300 million into Gett, the company says, a ride-sharing app that’s trying to push its way into the U.S. market after achieving popularity in Europe. The money will go toward ushering VW into the ride-sharing, on-demand transportation sector.

It seems start-ups and technology companies are getting a handle on the reality that with all the self-driving cars and ride-hailing services out there, many people will be able to travel cheaply and without ever having to touch the wheel of a car, The New York Times notes.

“Ride-sharing has huge potential in terms of shaping the future of mobility,” Shigeki Tomoyama, senior managing officer of Toyota, said in a statement about the deal with Uber. “We would like to explore new ways of delivering secure, convenient and attractive mobility services to customers.”

VW is also throwing around that word, “mobility”: “We aim to become a world leading mobility provider by 2025,” Matthias Müller, chief executive of Volkswagen, said in a statement, after the company said in April it would set up a separate company to oversee investments and initiatives in that arena — much like this one.

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