Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Dearborn, MI, United States (4E) – General Motors Company (GM) and Honda Motor Company, the world’s fourth and eighth largest car makers, have announced a partnership to jointly develop autonomous road vehicles or self-driving cars based on the Chevy Cruise, all-electric crossover.
GM and Honda will market a “purpose-built autonomous vehicle” to be developed by Cruise LLC, GM’s self-driving division. As part of the deal, Honda made a $750-million Honda investment in Cruise, boosting the company’s market cap to $14.6 billion. In addition, Honda will invest $2 billion over 12 years.
GM CEO Mary Barra said the partnership will enhance GM’s vision of a world with “zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion,” all of which are personally important to her.
GM acquired Cruise in 2016 for about $1 billion. A recent joint investment from GM and Japan’s SoftBank boosted the valuation of Cruise to $11.5 billion. The investment by Honda followed.
Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt said the autonomous bolt will arrive in 2019.
“With the backing of General Motors, SoftBank and now Honda, Cruise is deeply resourced to accomplish our mission to safely deploy autonomous technology across the globe,” Vogt said in a statement.
“The Honda partnership paves the way for massive scale by bringing a beautiful, efficient, and purpose-built vehicle to our network of shared autonomous vehicles.”
Analysts said the GM-Honda partnership will transform Cruise into a global scale operation. GM and Honda are already partnering in a battery development business.
“This is the logical next step in General Motors and Honda’s relationship, given our joint work on electric vehicles, and our close integration with Cruise,” said Barra.
“Together, we can provide Cruise with the world’s best design, engineering and manufacturing expertise, and global reach to establish them as the leader in autonomous vehicle technology – while they move to deploy self-driving vehicles at scale.”
The deal has led to the development of a fully-integrated autonomous electric car. Self-driving technology is already being built into Chevy Bolt electric vehicles (EVs). These Bolts are currently being fleet-tested in San Francisco, Detroit, and Phoenix. Tests in New York City will begin later this year
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