Following rumours that emerged last week, Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess and Ford CEO Jim Hackett have announced over a conference call that they will work together to propel themselves into new business opportunities surrounding future transportation. The companies also intend to develop commercial vans and medium-sized pickups for global markets beginning as early as 2022.
“Over time, this alliance will help both companies create value and meet the needs of our customers and society,” said Hackett. “It will not only drive significant efficiencies and help both companies improve their fitness, but also gives us the opportunity to collaborate on shaping the next era of mobility.”
Diess added: “Volkswagen and Ford will harness our collective resources, innovation capabilities and complementary market positions to even better serve millions of customers around the world. At the same time, the alliance will be a cornerstone for our drive to improve competitiveness.”
The two auto giants have already been working together in the commercial vehicle segment, but will now work even closer to save billions of dollars in wake of trade frictions surrounding electric and self-driving vehicle technology.
Each company has a lot to bring to the table. Ford has been heavily involved in smart mobility since CEO Jim Hackett took charge in 2017, investing in new mobility divisions and companies to pursue new opportunities such as autonomous vehicles and adapt to the new ecosystem on the horizon. VW’s perks include its MEB electric vehicle platform, which will allow the two companies to prepare for a mass EV market. The partnership will also allow both companies to speed up decision making and use each other’s facilities to push out new electric and connected vehicles.
VW has said in the past that the only way to make EVs a mass-market product is through economies of scale to make them as affordable as diesel vehicles; this is only achievable with partnerships like this. In terms of self-driving vehicles, Ford is aiming to make them available to the public by 2021, when its new autonomous architecture will be ready.