The American and German car makers announced today that they are “investigating” several joint projects, including those for future commercial vehicles that Ford said would “better serve the evolving needs of customers globally”.
The so-called strategic alliance would be restricted to research and development, with no “shared equity” or “cross ownership stakes” like those seen within closer alliances, such as the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.
“Ford is committed to improving our fitness as a business and leveraging adaptive business models – which include working with partners to improve our effectiveness and efficiency,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s president of global markets.
“This potential alliance with the Volkswagen Group is another example of how we can become more fit as a business, while creating a winning global product portfolio and extending our capabilities.”
Thomas Sedran, the VW Group’s strategy boss, added: “Markets and customer demand are changing at an incredible speed. To adapt to the challenging environment, it is of utmost importance to gain flexibility through alliances. This is a core element of our Volkswagen Group Strategy 2025.”
While only the potential for commercial vehicle projects has been highlighted at this stage, further anticipated benefits for a Ford and VW Group strategic alliance could include better access to their key markets. The VW Group’s brands are key players in Europe and Asia, while Ford remains one of the US’s top car companies.
Both brands are also running their own projects for the development of future technologies. The VW Group is heavily invested in next-generation electric powertrain technology, while Ford has pledged to launch its first mass-market autonomous car by 2021.
“The potential industrial cooperation with Ford is seen as an opportunity to improve competitiveness of both companies globally,” said Sedran.