Lyft gets $25 million boost from Jaguar Land Rover

SAN FRANCISCO — How about getting a Lyft in a posh Range Rover?

That could be in the cards soon as the ride-hailing company, which continues to make hay while dark clouds gather over larger rival Uber, announced Monday a $25 million investment from InMotion Ventures, the mobility services business of Jaguar Land Rover.

The cash infusion will go toward continuing Lyft's U.S. expansion — the company added 100 cities in the first quarter, totaling 300 — as well as its efforts to develop self-driving cars. Both Lyft and Uber stand to radically improve their questionable business models if they can provide rides without having to pay human drivers.

The InMotion investment allows for Jaguar Land Rover to leverage Lyft to help develop its own self-driving and mobility services solutions. Lyft drivers also will get access to "a fleet of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles," according to a statement, although no further details were provided.

The deal comes less than a month after Lyft announced a partnership with Waymo, Google's self-driving car company. Most experts expect that the first autonomous cars will arrive around 2020 and will in fact be part of ride-hailing fleets.

Lyft also has a partner in General Motors, which last year invested $500 million in Lyft and, according to reports, plans to deploy thousands of self-driving Chevy Bolts through Lyft by 2018.

Automakers are trying to diversify their revenue streams in anticipation of a transportation shift away from car ownership.

Ford recently fired its CEO, Mark Fields, because it felt the company wasn't moving fast enough in this direction despite a number of mobility initiatives and large investments over his three-year tenure.

InMotion Ventures represents Jaguar Land Rover's efforts to add ride-sharing options to its car-selling core.

Lyft's $7 billion valuation is dwarfed by that of global juggernaut Uber at $69 billion. But Lyft is focusing on the U.S. market and hoping to capitalize on a range of troubles besetting Uber, which include an internal investigation into the company's sexist work environment and a lawsuit over self-driving car tech from Waymo.

Follow USA TODAY tech reporter Marco della Cava on Twitter.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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