Ford and Volkswagen expand global cooperation
Ford and Volkswagen have signed agreements to expand their global cooperation to bring customers new commercial, electric and autonomous vehicles.
The alliance will result in Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’s (VWCV) new Amarok, due in 2022, to be built by Ford and based on the Ranger, in addition to a new Transit Connect based on the recently launched Volkswagen Caddy 5 and a 1Ton van.
In addition to these commercial vehicle enterprises, the cooperation between the two companies will lead to a Ford electric vehicle for Europe by 2023, built on Volkswagen’s Modular Electric Drive (MEB) toolkit, and expanding on Ford’s zero-emission portofolio and soon-to-be-launched Mustang Mach-E. Ford estimated that it could sell a possible 600,000 units based on the MEB platform. Volkswagen and Ford plan to explore additional ways to cooperate on electric vehicles.
Furthermore, the companies are working together with Argo AI to form an autonomous-vehicle business. Both partners will be able to use the software and the self-driving system (SDS) in their own bespoke ways. VWCV is responsible for the development of autonomous driving in the Mobility as a Service/Transportation as a Service (MaaS/TaaS) field for automation level 4, within the Volkswagen Group.
Thomas Sedran, chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “In 2022, we will be deploying a self-driving vehicle fleet in real conditions for the first time. This test will be the first level-4 deployment using our fully electric ID.BUZZ vehicles.”
Notably, the companies cooperation is not a merger and all vehicles will be marketed independently of each other.
“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on the global economy, more than ever it is vital to set up resilient alliances between strong companies,” said Volkswagen Group CEO Dr. Herbert Diess. “This collaboration will efficiently drive down development costs, allowing broader global distribution of electric and commercial vehicles, and enhance the positions of both companies.”
“This alliance comes at a time of tremendous enthusiasm about the intersection of increasingly intelligent, connected vehicles in an ever-smarter world,” said Ford CEO Jim Hackett. “This creates a huge opportunity to innovate and solve many of the world’s transportation challenges and deliver extraordinary benefits to customers – even as companies need to be selective about how they use their cash.”