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Feb 5, 2019

Alphabet's Waymo nearing robocar deal with Renault-Nissan alliance

Alphabet shares fall as costs rise


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Waymo is in advanced talks to develop autonomous cars with Renault SA, Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., according to people familiar with the matter, in a move that would join a leading self-driving force with the world’s largest automotive alliance.

A deal between the three carmakers and Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL.O) self-driving unit could include making driverless taxis, said one of the people, who asked not to be named discussing private negotiations. An agreement could be reached as soon as spring, Nikkei reported earlier.

Waymo has previously announced deals with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCAU.N) and Tata Motors Ltd.’s (TTM.N) Jaguar Land Rover. A tie-up with the French-Japanese alliance would be its biggest yet, adding partners who together churn out millions of cars a year — on par with the biggest individual carmakers, Volkswagen AG (VWAPY.PK) and Toyota Motor Corp. (TM.N).

Alliance spokesman Nicholas Twork said the report was based on rumors and speculation. Waymo declined to comment.

For Renault (RNLSY.PK) and Nissan (NSANY.PK), collaborating with Waymo would bring leading-edge technology just as the race to develop autonomous vehicles heats up. It would also strike a positive note for the French and Japanese manufacturers, whose two-decade partnership has been beset by tension since the arrest in November of former leader Carlos Ghosn in Japan over alleged financial improprieties.

Waymo met with more than 12 carmakers in 2016 seeking manufacturing partners for its autonomous vehicle technology, according to documents revealed last month.