AutoNation Inc. has partnered with Waymo, Google’s self-driving car affiliate, in a multi-year service agreement.
AutoNation’s franchise stores, AutoNation USA stores and other AutoNation locations will provide vehicle maintenance and repairs for Waymo’s fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrids.
AutoNation will provide “strategic capabilities to maximize the self-driving vehicle fleet’s life across the United States,” the nation’s largest new-vehicle retailer said in a statement Thursday.
Under the deal, AutoNation will initially work with Waymo’s autonomous vehicle program in the Phoenix and northern California markets.
AutoNation shares surged on the news -- along with its third-quarter report -- rising 14.8 percent to close at $54.62.
Waymo has been developing self-driving technology for eight years. It aims to bring Level 4 automation -- meaning the vehicle can drive without human supervision in defined conditions -- to the public.
Waymo is testing autonomous vehicles in six states: Michigan, Texas, Arizona, Washington, Nevada and California. AutoNation said it plans to expand with Waymo as the company adds brands and enters new markets.
AutoNation, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., ranks No. 1 on Automotive News' list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., with retail sales of 337,622 new vehicles in 2016.
Katie Burke contributed to this report.
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