Renault, Nissan and Fiat Chrysler are going to be linked after all — via Waymo.
Self-driving technology unit Waymo is joining forces with Renault and Nissan to explore driverless car options in their home markets of France and Japan. FCA supplies Waymo with minivans for the company’s Waymo One self-driving ride-hailing service.
The new partnership marks the first move by the two Alliance partners since the proposed FCA merger was pulled. The deal has limited scope and is similar other deals between large auto makers and technology companies.
The Waymo deal “is designed to bring together the strengths of each party and expand expertise by assessing market opportunities,” Renault said.
(French government blamed for demise of Fiat Chrysler-Renault merger. Click Here for the story.)
It will initially focus on driverless services for people and deliveries of goods in France and Japan but could later expand to other markets, excluding China, the French car maker said. Renault and Nissan will create joint-venture companies in France and Japan dedicated to driverless mobility services, it said.
The deal comes as Renault is supporting a move to grant Nissan more seats on the board of the Alliance, thus easing tensions between the two sides that have been elevated to new highs since the saga of former Alliance Chairman Carlos Ghosn began last November.
(Click Here for more about FCA partnering with self-driving tech company Aurora.)
The compromise about board committee seats serves a bigger purpose, according to the Wall Street Journal. It allows Nissan to install a new board, a step that Renault executives see as allowing for the possible resumption of merger talks with Fiat Chrysler, the newspaper reported.