Avis teams up with Waymo on self-driving car program

Waymo, owned by Google parent company Alphabet Inc., will continue to own and run its self-driving cars and will continue with its existing partnerships. Waymo also has a separate partnership with Lyft, the ride-sharing service.

Avis Budget Group has announced a new partnership with Alphabet's Waymo, saying that it will maintain and support the latter company's self-driving vehicle fleet. The company adding hundreds of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV's (NYSE:FCAU) Pacifica minivans to its fleet.

Avis Budget Group is a company that owns the Avis, Budget and Zipcar brands.

The news, which is seemingly 100-times larger in scale than the Apple-Hertz partnership, only sent shares up 12.58%. Avis isn't fairing much better, as the company is down 26.87% this year.

The deal is nonexclusive, according to a Waymo spokesperson.

"With members of the public using our growing fleet of self-driving cars, our vehicles need standard maintenance and cleaning so they're ready for our riders at any time of the day or night", Waymo chief executive John Krafcik said in a joint statement.

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Avis Budget Group operates 11,000 rental locations around the world.

Under the multi-year agreement, Avis Budget Group will enhance selected rental facilities to offer automotive services and secure parking for Waymo's fleet.

Shares of Avis Budget stock rallied the most in five years, jumping 21 percent to as high as $29.32 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Under the terms of Monday's deal, Avis Budget Group is expected to care for Waymo's fleet of Chrysler Pacifica minivans and other vehicles forming the backbone of Alphabet's planned 600-vehicle fleet in Phoenix.

The collaboration is created to support Waymo's growing autonomous vehicle (AV) fleet and Waymo's early rider program, a public trial of its self-driving cars in Phoenix, Arizona.

A Bloomberg report on Monday that Apple was using vehicles supplied by rival rental auto company Hertz Global Holdings to test its self-driving auto technology prompted a surge in that company's shares.

  • Toni Ryan