11 June 2020
Ford and Volkswagen Group (VW) have signed the final agreement on their partnership in commercial vehicles, autonomous technology and electric vehicles (EVs).
VW completed its investment in Ford’s autonomous technology arm Argo AI earlier this month, and the alliance will see the German carmaker share its MEB platform. At the same time, both will collaborate on commercial vehicles, sharing underpinnings and production.
‘The companies expect the alliance to enhance ownership experiences for current and future customers by more rapidly innovating vehicle offerings, incorporating relevant new technologies, delivering better utility and offering more model choices,’ the two parties commented. ‘They anticipate continued growth in global industry demand for commercial vehicles and for high-performing electric vehicles to add valuable scale to their individual product portfolios.’
As part of the deal, Ford will produce a ‘highly differentiated’ EV for the European market, based on the MEB platform that will also underpin many of VW’s electric models across the core brand, as well as Skoda and SEAT.
Ford plans to launch this vehicle in 2023 and is aiming to produce 600,000 units on the architecture. The MEB platform, which will be used for VW’s upcoming ID.3 model, which is expected to launch later this year. The German carmaker has offered the platform for use by other manufacturers, with e.GO showing an interest. The new vehicle will be designed and engineered by Ford in Cologne-Merkenich, while the two firms plan to explore additional ways to cooperate on EVs.
The use of MEB will enable Ford to further its efforts in fulfilling commitments to the Paris 2015 agreement, which sees limits placed on average CO2 levels across fleets. Ford is often perceived as a latecomer to the electromobility market. The company has recently unveiled its first mass-production EV, the Mustang Mach-E, which will hit showrooms next year. This model does not make use of VW’s MEB platform.
VW and Ford first announced a partnership at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit during January last year. At the time, the two companies were focusing on commercial-vehicle development. The latest announcement gives more detail on these plans.
A medium-sized pickup truck will be engineered and built by Ford and sold by VW as the Amarok starting in 2022, while both carmakers will strengthen their line-ups with a city delivery van based on the latest Caddy model, developed and built by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, and later a 1-ton cargo van created by Ford.
During the lifecycles of the products, the companies expect to produce up to a combined eight-million (combined) units of the pickup truck and vans included in the commercial relationships.
‘In light of the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts on the global economy, more than ever it is vital to set up resilient alliances between strong companies,’ said Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess. ‘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,’ added Ford CEO Jim Hackett. ‘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.’