Avis scores Waymo deal, Hertz said to work with Apple on self-driving cars

Avis Budget Group (NYSE:CAR) rallied as much as 21% on Monday after it reached a deal with Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Waymo to manage a fleet of self-driving cars, while Hertz (NYSE:HTZ) also surged after a report that it’s working with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).

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Avis announced a multi-year partnership that calls for the rental company to maintain and store autonomous vehicles for Waymo, the driverless software developer launched by Google. Waymo is building a fleet of 600 Chrysler Pacifica minivans, and the company is already running a pilot program for select customers in Phoenix.

Avis, which also owns Zipcar, said it will offer fleet support and maintenance services for Waymo’s self-driving cars at Avis and Budget rental locations.

“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 CEO John Krafcik said in a statement.

Larry De Shon, president and CEO of Avis Budget Group, said the arrangement allows Avis to accelerate its “knowledge and hands-on experience in an emerging area.”

The Avis deal is the first publicly disclosed self-driving car partnership in the rental business, an industry that’s expected to be among the first customers once self-driving cars hit the road. Waymo also has a separate partnership with Lyft, the ride-sharing service.

Meanwhile, Apple is leasing a fleet of cars from Hertz in its own test of self-driving technology, according to Bloomberg. The report said Apple, whose CEO Tim Cook recently acknowledged the tech giant’s car project for the first time, is working with Lexus SUVs supplied by Hertz’s Donlen fleet-management unit. The information was contained in documents from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Hertz declined to comment. Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hertz shares soared 14.9% to $10.96 in recent trading. Avis was up 13.5% at $27.52.

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