Ford-VW Alliance Seen Amping Up Pressure on Other Automakers

Marco Green
July 12, 2019

Volkswagen and Ford have said they will work together on developing self-driving and electric cars in an attempt to reduce costs on new technologies. The two automakers said that potential deals are expected to involve collaboration on electric and autonomous vehicles.

In their announcement on Friday, VW and Ford said their alliance would let them roll out self-driving technology in more markets than other companies. The companies said Volkswagen Chief Executive Herbert Diess and Ford CEO Jim Hackett would appear together tomorrow in NY, but provided no additional information in a news release.

Auto firms are also facing new competitors in the industry such as Google and Uber which are also working on self-driving vehicles and have access to enormous financial resources.

Volkswagen intends to launch a vehicle with Argo's platform in "the early 2020s", according to CEO Herbert Diess.

VW will become an equal stakeholder in Ford's autonomous vehicles venture.

"A VW investment in Ford's AV business would provide a crucial public validation data point (similar to SoftBank's investment in GM Cruise), and could be just the start of external capital for Ford's AV business", Schwarz said.

As part of that alliance, Ford will engineer and build medium-sized commercial pickups, to be sold by both manufacturers, and build large commercial vans for European customers, while VW will develop a city van. Volkswagen will officially open up use of its MEB scalable electric-vehicle platform, which Ford will use for an all-new EV model that's aimed to go on sale in 2023.

Suppliers familiar with Ford's plans say the No. 2 USA automaker is developing a broader portfolio of electric vehicles, majority crossovers that will carry the Ford and Lincoln brands, for North America and China.

Hinrichs said the VW collaboration would not affect Ford's plans to launch two new electric vehicles in the United States, including a battery-powered version of the F-150 pickup and a new Mustang-inspired crossover vehicle that is expected to be called Mach E. It has sought outside investors to help share the spiraling cost of developing autonomous vehicle technology.

The autonomous company has self-driving test fleets of Ford Fusion Hybrids active in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Palo Alto, Miami and Washington D.C.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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