A report from AutoExtremist (later corroborated by The Wall Street Journal) says today that Alphabet/Google is in the late stages of discussing an “advanced technical partnership” with London-based Fiat Chrysler, citing sources with direct knowledge of the discussions…
Although it’s not exactly clear at this point what the deal would entail, CEO of the self-driving car group at Google John Krafcik reportedly began talks with Sergio Marchionne, CEO of FCA, sometime in January of this year. In the short term, AutoExtremist says that the deal includes “development of an autonomous version of FCA’s new Pacifica minivan.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that Google has been seeking “partnerships” to sell its self-driving car technology, and that Fiat Chrysler has been seeking “partners to help offset production and development costs”:
The talks have been ongoing for several months, this person said. Alphabet has been seeking industry partnerships with the biggest auto makers in the world, offering a deal to sell self-driving car technology that has been under development for several years.
Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne, meanwhile, has been scouring the auto industry in search of partners to help offset production and development costs, or to merge.
Google clearly doesn’t have the capacity to brings its cars to wide production by itself, so the benefits in the long-term might be what Google is eyeing in this deal. Unlike Google, Fiat Chrysler Automibiles has long-established its manufacturing capability and distribution networks — something Google would desperately need if it is to bring self-driving cars to the masses.
Recently, we reported that Google had nabbed an ex-Apple global supply manager w/ experience delivering millions of iPhones and Watches, suggesting that the company may have its eyes set on wider production of its cuter prototype vehicles.
More self-driving car coverage:
- Google joins Uber, Ford to promote federal self-driving car regulations
- Proposed CA bill hopes to put Google’s driverless prototype cars in the regulatory clear
- Google’s March self-driving car report details mapping system, a boring accident in Austin
- Newly released multiple angle video and photos show Google’s self-driving car accident [Video]
- Google self-driving car strikes public transit bus in its first at-fault accident