Google - Fiat Chrysler collaboration


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This and other moves look like a Silicon Valley - automaker nexus, something like how Tesla crooses that boundary.


Experts: Fiat Chrysler, Google deal makes sense


A partnership between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Google could give both parties needed resources to accelerate the development and production of next-generation car technologies and autonomous vehicles, according to industry experts.


Fiat Chrysler has been slower than most automakers, including its crosstown rivals General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co., in investing in and supporting the development of autonomous vehicles.


Google, reported to be in talks with Fiat Chrysler, doesn’t have the experience or infrastructure to mass-produce vehicles, as it continues to refine and test its fleet of self-driving cars that have driven about 1.5 million miles in autonomous mode.


“If Fiat Chrysler is the smallest volume of the Big Three, but suddenly is paired with someone like a Google and their resources, it kind of immediately changes the playing field,” said Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Karl Brauer. “Both of those companies jump to the front of the line.”


Fiat Chrysler, Brauer said, would be more flexible on topics such as who owns certain data that likely stonewalled a reported potential partnership with Ford and the tech giant that was expected to be announced at the prominent CES electronics show in January.


“It’s Fiat Chrysler’s current position that makes them more willing to partner with someone like Google and give in some areas that Google would want to negotiate hard on,” he said. “It will be interesting to see what (Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne) had to give away to get in close with Google.”


Brauer’s comments follow Thursday reports that Fiat Chrysler and Google parent company Alphabet Inc. are in the late stages of negotiating a technology partnership. The talks, first reported by industry blog citing an unnamed source, reportedly started between John Krafcik, CEO of Google’s Self-Driving Cars, and Marchionne in January.


Officials with Google and Fiat Chrysler declined to comment on the reported negotiations. “We don’t comment on rumor or speculation,” Google said in a company statement. An FCA spokeswoman would not confirm or deny the partnership.


Partnering with Google also could give Fiat Chrysler additional credibility in the auto tech sector, while potentially allowing Google access to hundreds of thousands of slow-selling cars such as the Fiat 500, Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart to use to test its technologies.

Google executives also have stated that they do not want to build their own cars. Fiat Chrysler could potentially be a contract manufacturer for Google’s autonomous cars, a move the company has made with other products.

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