Google’s autonomous vehicle (AV) unit Waymo wants to expand into European markets, potentially through a partnership with a local OEM, its chief executive said.
Speaking at the Automotive News Europe Congress in Turin, John Krafcik said Waymo could take a “very different approach” in Europe, from both a branding and a market route perspective.
“There’s an opportunity for us at Waymo to experiment here in Europe, with different product forms, with different products and maybe even with different go-to-market strategies,” Krafcik said.
“It’s probably fair to say that the Waymo brand wouldn’t be as strong as some other existing incumbent brands that are already strong in Europe,” he added.
Waymo recently entered partnerships with Jaguar Land Rover and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) for the procurement of test self-driving vehicles in the US.
Krafcik said he could see strengthening collaboration with FCA in order to enter the European market, possibly resulting in what he called “a personal-use licensing product”.
Earlier this month, FCA said it was in discussions with Waymo to offer FCA-branded AVs for retail in the future.
Over the last year, carmakers in Europe and overseas have scrambled to set up their own AV development operations. Volvo partnered with Uber, while Volkswagen is leading an EU-wide AV consortium that includes Groupe PSA and FCA.
A number of OEMs have also begun collaborating with ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing in China.