Fiat Chrysler's game of industry catch-up might involve Uber

As other automakers are pumping time, money and resources into various tech efforts, Fiat Chrysler is looking far and wide for a partner to shack up with.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Fiat Chrysler's partnership with Google involves using its new Pacifica minivan to help develop the tech company's autonomous-driving systems.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

GM spent half a billion dollars investing in Lyft, and it's also running its own car-sharing service, Maven. Ford is already testing its own autonomous vehicles, and it's put money into numerous startups and tech outfits to help further its goals. Whither Fiat Chrysler, then? The company's announced a deal with Google, and that's about it. But that could change in the near future.

Sources told Bloomberg that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Uber have "started discussions" on a similar partnership to the deal Fiat's already sealed with Google. Uber isn't a one-automaker company, though, and it's reported that the ridesharing giant is actually talking with several different automakers, having already put together a deal with Toyota.

Neither FCA nor Uber immediately responded to a request for comment.

FCA has to be smart with its money, as it lacks the outright resources of its competitors. The company has already decided to nix its small-car development in favor of current big sellers, crossovers and trucks. Sharing development costs with another company is an excellent way of keeping costs down while still pushing forward on the innovation front.

Of course, what we see from the public's standpoint often isn't the whole story. Fiat is likely to be well ahead of where everyone thinks they are. At least, that's what I'm hoping, considering its advanced driver assistance systems are lacking from a competitive standpoint, and its sole battery-electric offering (Fiat 500e) remains unavailable in most states.

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