Google and Fiat Chrysler are in "late stage talks" on a technical partnership on Google's self-driving car project, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal, citing AutoExtremist. The talks are said to have been underway for several months, and are in final negotiations.
This is just the latest in a series of reports about Google looking for a partner in the automotive industry to help it build cars with the self-driving technology that it has been building for years. Back in December, a number of stories claimed Google and Ford were creating an entirely new company to build self-driving cars.
Google has been looking for a partner for a while
It seemed like a good fit, but Fiat Chrysler and Google could be even better. Google is looking for a partner with car-building experience to help it build its cars at scale, while Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne spent much of 2015 trying (and failing) to merge with GM after spinning off Ferrari into its own firm — and has recently hinted that the search for a merger partner isn't over.
"Every car company is trying to get into the tech space right now because they all know their future depends on it," says Karl Brauer, auto industry analyst for Kelley Blue Book. "At the same time, tech companies are trying to understand how to transition from software, interface and personal device production into the much more complicated world of automotive manufacturing. A Google/FCA tie-up could simultaneously put both companies in lead in this critical race."
Still, we've heard these rumors with Google before and they could come to naught. For its part, a Google spokesperson told The Verge that it does not "comment on rumor and speculation," while a Fiat Chrysler spokesperson said the company had no comment.