Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Alphabet Inc, said on Monday it signed a multi-year agreement with Avis Budget Group Inc for the car rental firm to manage its growing fleet of autonomous vehicles, sparking a surge in Avis Budget's stock.
Investors bid Avis shares up by as much as 21 per cent on Monday, the biggest intraday percentage gain for the stock in more than five years. The shares closed at $27.67, up about 14 per cent.
Shares in traditional rental car companies such as Avis and Hertz Global Holdings Inc
A Bloomberg report on Monday that Apple was using vehicles supplied by rival rental car company Hertz Global Holdings to test its self-driving car technology prompted a surge in that company's shares.
Also on Monday, General Motors Co
Waymo and Avis said they will launch their partnership in Phoenix, Arizona, where Waymo is allowing selected members of the public take rides in self-driving cars, including modified Chrysler Pacifica minivans built by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. Waymo has said it plans to expand its fleet of Chrysler minivans to about 600 vehicles.
Waymo and Avis did not say whether their partnership will expand to other cities, but John Krafcik, the head of Waymo, said in a statement that "with thousands of locations around the world, Avis Budget Group can help us bring our technology to more people, in more places."