Monday, March, 20, 2023 10:29:21

Honda, Hino Motors to join Toyota, SoftBank’s self-driving car unit

The two firms will each invest around $2.27 million in the self-driving car firm and take over around 10% of its stake. Japanese automotive conglomerate, Honda Motor Co. and truck manufacturer Hino Motors Ltd. have recently agreed to partner with SoftBank Corp. and Toyota’s joint venture firm, Monet Technologies to develop self-driving car services. According to Reuters, Honda and Hino Motors, as part of the agreement, will each invest around 250 million yen ($2.27 million) in Monet Technologies. Moreover, the two firms, in which global automaker Toyota owns a majority stake, will take over around 10% stakes in the joint venture. Reportedly, Japanese conglomerate, SoftBank and Toyota established the joint venture in 2018, which is anticipated to foray in the ride-sharing space led by Lyft, Didi Chuxing and Uber, as automotive players and tech companies rival to gain a competitive led in the self-driving car market. Sources claim that Monet, with this investment, plans to launch a platform to operate driverless vehicles in the latter half of 2020 that will be based on Toyota's ‘e-palette’ concept, a multi-purpose vehicle that can be used for on-demand mobile offices, shops and other services. Commenting on the move, Monet said it had formed a consortium of 88 Japanese firms including beverage maker Suntory Holdings Ltd., Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan and Yahoo Japan Corp. to partner on its projects, which could include delivery or product-related services. Reports claim that the new investment from Honda and Hino would leave SoftBank with a 40.2% stake in its JV, down from over 50% when the venture was first established. Meanwhile, Toyota will hold a 39.8% stake in Monet. Incidentally, SoftBank Group is already a major player in the ride-sharing market, thanks to its Vision Fund's financing. Masayoshi Son, CEO and Founder, SoftBank, claims that their portfolio companies, which include Didi, Uber, Grab and Ola, already have control over 90% of the industry.