Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG have signed agreements that expand their global alliance to meet the evolving needs of their respective customers. The two companies will use their complementary strengths in midsize pickup trucks, commercial and electric vehicles.
The companies said they expect continued growth in global industry demand for commercial vehicles and for high-performing EVs to add scale to their individual product portfolios.
Under the alliance, Ford will build and engineer a medium pickup truck that will become the Volkswagen Amarok from 2022 within the Volkswagen Commercial vehicle line-up. VW will develop and build a city delivery van based on the latest Caddy model as early as 2021 and Ford will later build a one-ton cargo van. Finally, Volkswagen will help Ford with an electric vehicle for Europe by 2023 which will be built on Volkswagen’s Modular Electric Drive (MEB) toolkit.
During the lifecycles of the products, the companies expect to produce up to eight million units of the medium pickup truck and both commercial vans.
“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 Dr Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Group. “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 Jim Hackett, CEO of Ford. “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.”
“Commercial vehicles are fundamental to Ford today and an area where we will accelerate and grow, and working with Volkswagen on these platforms will provide both of us significant financial advantages in things like engineering and plants and tooling,” said Jim Farley, Ford Chief Operating Officer. “Separately, Ford will add battery electric versions of Transit and F-150 in the next 24 months for commercial customers who increasingly need zero emissions and the power of connectivity, data and artificial intelligence.”
“The collaboration with Ford is a key building block of our GRIP 2025+ strategy and part of the current transformation of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles,” said Thomas Sedran, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. “This long-term cooperation with Ford will strengthen our very good position in [the] area of light commercial vehicles, especially in our core European markets, and is proof that we are successfully implementing our plan step by step.”
Over several years starting in 2023, Ford said it can deliver 600,000 electric vehicles with the MEB architecture. Additionally, the companies will both work with Argo AI to form autonomous-vehicle businesses based on Argo AI’s self-driving technology.
Ford and VW said they plan to explore additional ways to cooperate on electric vehicles. The alliance does not include cross-ownership between the companies, which will remain competitors in the marketplace.