Two of the biggest firms in the automotive industry launched a partnership today that will see them sharing knowledge and expertise on vans and pick-ups.
The key focus of the agreement is the commercial vehicle sector, with the two manufacturers co-developing vans and mid-sized pick-ups from as early as 2022, with improved economic results forecast from 2023.
Both companies will also share knowledge, research and development on autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, mobility services and electric vehicles. The last one is where Ford is set to benefit, as despite being one of the largest carmakers in the world, it has lagged behind others when it comes to electrification, which is where Volkswagen is pushing ahead.
Jim Hackett, Ford chief executive and president, said: “Over time, this alliance will help both companies create value and meet the needs of our customers and society.
“It will not only drive significant efficiencies and help both companies improve their fitness, but also gives us the opportunity to collaborate on shaping the next era of mobility.”
The firms emphasised that the alliance wasn’t a merger but will be governed by a joint committee to be led by Hackett and Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess.
Ford and Volkswagen dominate the UK van sector. In 2018, the top three best-selling new models were the Ford Transit, Ford Transit Custom and Volkswagen Transporter. Both Ford and VW also have a strong foothold in the UK pick-up market with the Ranger and Amarok respectively.
Meanwhile, in other markets – particularly the USA – Ford’s F-150 pick-up is enormously popular, with the American manufacturer selling an F-150 or Super Duty pick-up every 29.3 seconds in 2018. Ford shifted more than a million of the trucks last year.
It is set to build and engineer its own mid-size pick-up, as well as Volkswagen’s, and do the same for larger commercial vans. Meanwhile, Volkswagen is expected to take the lead with smaller city vans. The firms will also share powertrains – both internal combustion and electrified – in their commercial vehicles, but there are no plans to share engines on passenger cars.