Volkswagen and Ford Motor unveiled an alliance on Tuesday that combines forces in commercial vehicles and is likely to be expanded in the area of joint development of electric vehicles and autonomous steering technology, in a strategy to help companies save billions of dollars.
Ford and Volkswagen will announce the partnership during the Detroit auto show, the German group’s chief executive Herbert Diess told reporters on Monday. The automakers in recent months had been discussing the cooperation in vans and other commercial vehicles and had stated that any extended alliance would not imply a merger or shareholding.
The terms of the agreement must include a combination of autonomous management resources and Volkswagen investment in this area of Ford. Meanwhile, Ford will have to license Volkswagen’s electric vehicle platform, known as MEB, sources said.
Diess confirmed in the show that the alliance will allow Volkswagen to access Ford’s pick-up Ranger platform.
The alliance with Volkswagen is a big bet for the executive president of Ford, Jim Hackett, since he took command of the automaker in May 2017 instead of Mark Fields, with a mandate to accelerate the decision-making process of the company and cut costs. Some analysts and investors have been frustrated by Ford’s share price and feel lack of details about Hackett’s US $ 11 billion plan for the restructuring of the US automaker.
Last week, Ford announced that it would cut thousands of jobs, discontinue vehicles that do not generate a return and close factories as part of efforts to recover the profitability of the group’s operations in Europe.