Drivers for Uber Technology Inc.'s car-booking service could avail of discounted financing or leasing for vehicles built by Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors. Signed drivers who request and pay for rides using Uber's mobile application, could go to a dealership and purchase certain Toyota or GM vehicles covered by the program at lower rates via vehicle-financing companies, according to Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick.
Uber is trying to keep up with the increasing demand as more drivers sign up with its service and as it enters new cities. It is currently based in San Francisco. According to Kalanick, global usage in October surged over 20 percent from September. He remarked that Uber is looking to hike the number of vehicles on its service while allowing carmakers to sell more vehicles.
"We need to make strategic moves so that we can supply those cars onto the system," Kalanick said, adding that while demand is there, it would not matter if they don’t help their partners and drivers get cars on the road.
Uber was able to raise $258 million from Google Inc.'s venture-capital arm and other investors earlier this year, pegging the company’s value at $3.5 billion, Kalanick said. The company is planning to invest in r&d and expand its program to more locations from the 60 cities it services.
According to Kalanick, the auto-financing program will commence on a trial basis for "thousands" of drivers. He is targeting to sell hundreds of thousands of vehicles through the program within a year. Uber disclosed in April that it had "tens of thousands" of drivers. While it needs more people to drive, Uber wants to make sure the quality of drivers, who passengers could rate through the app. [source: Bloomberg]