Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG are finalizing a deal to work together on autonomous and electric vehicles, according the German automaker’s top executive.
Herbert Diess, VW’s CEO, told a group of employees that the two sides were negotiating the final parts of the deal, which would be the second since the two automakers agreed to start working together earlier this year.
The first deal called for Ford to provide VW with assistance on developing a new pickup truck that it would sell in global markets, but not the United States. This new deal centers on Ford getting use of Volkswagen’s MEB EV platform.
Diess told 500 management-level employees that the talks are “going well and are nearly complete,” according Reuters. Ford said talks were continuing and that it would share updates when they became available.
(For more about Ford’s new partnership with VW on commercial vehicles, midsize pickups, Click Here.)
The move isn’t a great surprise, since it was one area that seemed to make plenty of sense to combine when the initial news of the linkup between the two automakers became public in January. Recent events suggested a new partnership was at hand.
Volkswagen cut ties with self-driving startup Aurora recently, electing to team up with Pittsburgh-based Argo AI. Ford has been working with Argo for some time now, including announcing a new deal for testing Argo’s self-driving cars in Detroit.
The move presented a chance for Fiat Chrysler, which is woefully behind in that arena, to team up with Aurora. Hyundai and Kia announced today that they too are working with Aurora to accelerate their own autonomous program.
(Click Here for more about VW’s 10-year plan to comeback.)
Automakers are teaming up in increasing numbers to navigate the costly world of electric and autonomous vehicle development. These deals help to reduce cost and mitigate risk. VW’s partnership with Ford provides additional benefit.
“Today we are de facto a very Chinese-oriented company. For this, we need a counterweight in the U.S.,” Diess said, according to prepared remarks seen by Reuters.
Though much of the news surrounding Volkswagen and new products in the U.S. focuses on the possibility of a pickup, a new concept shown thousands of miles away at Auto Shanghai may reveal what’s coming next instead: a large SUV.
(To see details about problems between Ford and VW, Click Here.)
VW showed off the SMV Concept, which it plans to build and sell in China within the next two years. It appears to be larger than the Atlas, which VW sells in China under the moniker Teramont. However, the SMV is based on the same flexible MQB modular architecture used by Atlas.