Ford and VW confirm new alliance

New VW Amarok and Ford Ranger pick-ups to be co-developed, while Ford could get access to VW’s MEB platform under new deal

Ford and the Volkswagen Group have confirmed the first fruits under their new alliance will be new medium-sized pickup trucks and commercial vehicles for the global market. Further down the line, the two car giants will collaborate on electric vehicles, autonomous cars and mobility solutions.

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Announced at the Detroit Motor Show the first products of the alliance will be the next generation Ford Ranger and VW Amarok, both of which will be built by Ford, due to go on sale in 2022. Herbet Diess, CEO of the VW Group said: “The successor of the Amarok will share a Ford platform. It will be marketed worldwide and especially in Europe, Latin America and possibly the US.”

The Ranger and Amarok will also share engines but Jim Hackett, CEO at Ford, stressed that both pick-ups would have their own ‘identity’ and ‘go to market strategy’.

Following the medium-sized pickup, Ford expects to design and build larger commercial vehicles for the two companies, while VW will engineer and manufacture a smaller, city-sized van.

Discussions are also being had about Ford getting access to the VW Group’s new MEB platform for electric vehicles. A memorandum of understanding (a nonbinding precursor to a contract) has been signed to “investigate collaboration” related to autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles and mobility services

Diess added: “For the MEB platform we are in dialogue, it means we can leverage scale. It [the MEB platform deal] will probably not be worldwide, as it’s mainly for Europe and China, but it’s not decided yet. But we are open to share and scale to reduce risk.”

VW and Ford sold 1.2 million vans and other light commercial vehicles in 2018, and the pick-up sector has seen significant growth over the last five years. By sharing development costs, leveraging manufacturing capabilities and optimising cost efficiencies, Ford and VW expect to improve their financial results by 2023, becoming the commercial sector’s “highest-volume collaboration” in the process.

Diess added: “We are two strong players with a proven track record. VW and Ford have shown the ability to successfully reinvent ourselves again and again. We have strong regions strengths – VW is a market leader in EU and China and Ford a leader in the US.”

Ford’s president and CEO, Jim Hackett, said the alliance with VW would “drive significant efficiencies and help both companies improve their fitness”, while VW Group’s CEO, Dr. Herbert Diess, said the two companies would harness “complementary market positions”. The partnership will be governed by a joint committee, led by Hackett and Diess.

The two companies will be hoping to achieve more success in the mobility market than was seen by the ride-hailing bus service, Chariot, which was purchased by Ford in 2016, launched in the UK in 2017, and closed down in early 2018.

Do you think a partnership between Ford and VW will be a good thing? Let us know in the comments below…

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