Waymo Enlists Chrysler to Supply 62,000 Minivans for Autonomous Fleet

Courtesy of Waymo

While Fiat Chrysler Auto isn’t developing autonomous vehicle technology, the OEM has partnered with Waymo to supply the technology company’s fleet.

Waymo, a division of Google-parent company Alphabet, increased the size of its self-driving taxi fleet more than 100-fold with the order of 62,000 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans from FCA last week.

FCA Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne has made a “very strategic decision that FCA wants to be a supplier and dealer in the autonomous vehicle industry and not a competitor,” Grayson Brulte, a consultant and co-founder of Brulte & Co., told AFN. “He’s carving out a very valuable niche for FCA as we go deeper into autonomy.”

With more than $100 billion of cash on Alphabet’s balance sheet, Waymo is a “formidable competitor” that should act as “a wakeup call for the industry as a whole,” Brulte said. Specifically, traditional automators with “build it yourself ” processes should be the ones most concerned, as Waymo has proven to be savvy in cutting deals that benefit both sides, he added. Waymo is the only company with a fleet of fully self-driving cars, with no one in the driver seat, on public roads.

The company is set to launch the world’s first self-driving transportation service later this year — allowing the public to use an app to request a vehicle.

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As Associate Editor of Auto Finance News, Nicole Casperson reports on the latest news, trends, and innovations impacting the auto finance space. Nicole is an experienced business reporter from Texas, and she previously specialized covering the housing and mortgage industry. Nicole received her Master of Arts in Mass Communication and her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism both from the College of Media & Communication, Texas Tech University.