It is a ‘yes’ indeed for Volkswagen and Ford. The two carmakers put an end to rumours as they announce details on the extent of their alliance for the first time in Detroit. They want to begin to develop new vans and medium-size pick-up trucks together starting in 2022 and continue to look into other fields such as e-mobility.
Still it remains unclear whether the cooperation will truly include electric vehicles. Volkswagen had last been reluctant to share their technological advantage embodied in the MEB platform with Ford just yet (we reported). Ford remains keen on the issue though and CEO Jim Hackett sees the new deal as an “opportunity to collaborate on shaping the next era of mobility”.
This also seems to be the spirit of the memorandum of understanding they signed in Detroit. The MoU includes the will “to investigate collaboration on autonomous vehicles, mobility services and electric vehicles,” according to the press release.
The teams will continue working through details in the coming months but what is clear is that the alliance will not entail cross-ownership between the two companies and that it will be governed by a joint committee led by Hackett and Diess.
For now, they are to concentrate on commercial vehicles, an area in which VW and Ford have been worked together before and successfully so. The companies’ collective light commercial vehicle volumes from 2018 totalled about 1.2 million units globally, which could represent the industry’s highest-volume collaboration as production scales, say the firms. Through the alliance, Ford will engineer and build medium-sized pickups for both companies which are expected to go to market as early as 2022. Ford will also sign responsible for developing larger commercial vans for European customers, and Volkswagen intends to develop and build a city van. Whether any of these will be offered as electric vehicles or plug-in hybrid variants is unclear at this stage.