Volkswagen and Ford may announce a potential automotive alliance for creating the cars of the future
DETROIT – Volkswagen AG and Ford Motor Co are expected to unveil an alliance that combines forces on commercial vehicles and is likely to expand into joint development of electric and self-driving technology, a strategy meant to save the automakers billions of dollars.
Ford and Volkswagen are talking about creating driverless and environmentally friendly cars
Ford and Volkswagen have announced a “global alliance” that will entail the two carmakers
collaborating on a range of projects from commercial vehicles to potential new services. The
alliance will be run by a joint committee led by Ford chief executive Jim Hackett and his VW
counterpart Herbert Diess, alongside senior executives from both companies. The carmakers
will not take a stake in the other as part of the tie-up.
The two companies have been discussing during recent years about cooperating in vans and
other commercial vehicles. The two automakers have been exploring closer cooperation as
trade frictions force car makers to rethink where they build vehicles for the European, United
States and Chinese markets.
“The alliance we are now building, starting from first formal agreement, will boost both partners’
competitiveness in an era of rapid change,” Herbert Diess, the CEO of Volkswagen, said on a
call with reporters.
The expanding alliance highlights the growing pressure on all global automakers to manage the
costs of developing electric and self-driving vehicles, as well as technology required to meet
tougher emissions standards for millions of internal combustion vehicles they will sell in the
years to come.
The team-up comes at a time of immense changes in the auto industry. Almost every major
automaker is shifting to electric vehicles and exploring autonomous technology. Many of them
are toying with the idea of new mobility services, like shared fleets of cars, bikes, and scooters.
What is expected from this VW & Ford alliance?
Sources say that the said collaboration is expected to include the pooling of resources in
autonomous technology and VW investing in that Ford business, and Ford licensing
Volkswagen’s MEB electric vehicles platform.
Volkswagen’s Diess confirmed at the Detroit auto show that the alliance will include VW gaining
access to Ford’s midsized Ranger pickup truck platform.
The companies can support each other in many regards, with VW strong in China, where Ford
has consistently struggled and lost huge chunks of sales in 2018, and in Europe, where Ford
losses money and last week announced major cuts. Ford, though, owns pickup sales and
production, particularly in North America. VW has no trucks and lags in North America.
Ford also plans to engineer and build larger commercial vans for Europe for both groups, while
VW intends to produce a city van.
No Ford & VW merger
After revealing in June 2018, the talks about an alliance in commercial vehicles and adding they
were looking at other joint projects, the two companies also mentioned that they are most
definitely not considering a merger anytime soon.