Google and Fiat Chrysler near deal on self-driving vehicles

The potential partnership is being called a 'puzzling development'

Fiat Chrysler

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Alphabet Google's self-driving car division are reportedly in late-stage partnership talks, according to Auto Extremist.

The talks, which began shortly after the January CES conference in Las Vegas, would offer "the advanced technology partnership" Google has been seeking to sell its autonomous car technology. Google has been working on autonomous car tech for six years, according to the industry blog site.

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One of Google's self-driving prototype SUVs drives around Mountain View, Calif.

An FCA spokesperson declined comment on the matter. So did Google. “We don’t comment on rumors and speculation," a Google spokesperson said.

John Krafcik, CEO of Google's Self-Driving Cars operation, has been finalizing the negotiations over the last three weeks, the blog site stated.

In January, Google hired Krafcik, a former Hyundai exec and more recently president of auto sales webite Truecar, to run its self-driving car operations.

Auto Extremist characterized the potential partnership as "a puzzling development, as FCA is the least technically savvy company in the car business by far." But, it added, that may be exactly what Krafcik wants.

"Though the deal in the short term is said to include development of an autonomous version of FCA's new Pacifica minivan, it's the longer-term prospects that are of particular interest to Krafcik," the blog stated. "It means that Google will have access to manufacturing capability and an existing dealer network for the distribution of its future vehicles, something the tech icon has clearly lacked."

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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