Amazon is negotiating with the consortium that owns the HERE mapping business about taking a stake, Reuters said.
According to sources in the auto industry, the online giant is talking to German carmakers Audi, BMW and Mercedes about a possible investment.
The consortium bought HERE from Nokia in August last year for €2.8 billion, and has subsequently considered bringing in more partners. However, these have generally been believed to be from the auto industry, which makes a report of Amazon’s involvement something of a surprise.
No value was put on the potential investment by the internet firm.
A stake taken by Amazon would form part of a wider partnership, which would also see the internet firm supply HERE with cloud services.
In its core business, Amazon is introducing ambitious one and two-hour delivery services in the US and Europe for which it needs more accurate, real-time mapping.
For its part, HERE’s current owners are interested in bringing in new parties to the share of burden of investment, as well as increase its volume of mapping data.
Renault and auto supplier Continental have both expressed interest in becoming HERE shareholders. Continental said it would decide whether to go ahead with purchasing a stake within the next few months.
Sources also said Ford was among those considering taking a stake.
Interestingly, Amazon was not in the forefront of bidders linked to buying HERE last summer.
The most prominent names, in the addition to the eventual buyers, were Uber, Baidu, Tencent, NavInfo and EQT Partners. Facebook was an early contender.