For decades, the Toyota Land Cruiser has left its mark on the off-road landscape while creating nostalgic memories of leading caravans across the Sahari desert, exploring the U.S. Southwest and being the type of vehicle Indiana Jones himself would drive. Yet, with changes in consumer attitudes and needs, the Land Cruiser, well, really is no more. Now it is a family-friendly SUV, albeit still quite off-road capable, more suited for a trip to the grocery store than the badlands.
With an eye towards the future and following along with a recent trend in the industry, Toyota and Uber have signed a partnership to explore future ride sharing possibilities and collaboration.
The partnership, announced on May 24, 2016, is technically a memorandum of understanding to “explore collaboration, starting with trials, in the world of ridesharing in countries where ridesharing is expanding, taking various factors into account such as regulations, business conditions, and customer needs,” according to a Toyota press release.
Basically, Toyota will tap into Uber’s technology platform to see what they can learn about developing future products to make mobility safer, more efficient and convenient.
This partnership follows a recent trend with Ford developing their own ridesharing service and GM partnering with Lyft. Each of these automotive companies realizes there are benefits to reaching outside of their basic business plans and tap into an emerging trend.
Toyota partnering with Uber, a leader in the growing ridesharing trend, is a big win for the company since it could be on the leading edge of this mobility trend. That is if Uber continues to grow and people continue to embrace ridesharing.
What future applications could come out of this partnership? Who really knows at this point. Ford seems to be poised to try and sell their service along with GM. Toyota and Uber seem at least poised to incorporate Uber’s technology into the vehicle’s infotainment system as well as building future technology applications to further integrate Uber into people’s lives. While there may be additional opportunities to study how vehicles are used in ridesharing, this seems like a long shot since Toyota already gathers data from taxi cabs which are increasingly using Toyota Prius vehicles (it seems to us the more we travel).
Ultimately, these partnerships can have unforeseen advantages and/or can fizzle out with nothing gained. It is nice to see, though, Toyota engaging with Uber and understanding more about Uber’s ridesharing services.
Severe storms in the San Antonio, Texas area have forced Toyota to shut down operation at the Tundra/Tacoma plant for a few days. This could put a tight squeeze on sales volume.