And then commercial vehicles. And then autonomous ones. And then…
Volkswagen & Ford have announced that they’re joining forces to take on the global motoring industry, as established manufacturers are getting attacked on all sides from startups and new-age firms that are better positioned to adapt to the customers of today (and indeed, tomorrow). With their knowledge, experience, and assets combined, Volkswagen & Ford are stepping into the light now more confident in their ability to address the changing global automotive landscape, and address the needs & demands of all key markets with greater speed, agility, and efficiency.
Ford CEO Jim Hackett said on the joint-venture:
“It is my opinion that you can’t do this alone. We believe the fundamental shift [in the industry] is healthy, as it allows automakers to focus on their respective strengths and participate in developing these new mobility solutions. Yet, at the same time for our customers, we can offer as many competitive options that they didn’t think they could get from automotive companies.” — Jim Hackett, Chief Executive Officer, Ford Motor Company
From Volkswagen’s perspective, they stand to gain quite a bit insofar as autonomous vehicle development & research is concerned, given he allowances that the North American market offers that the Europeans just haven’t gotten round to yet.
“From Volkswagen’s perspective, it would make a lot of sense to cooperate with an American player given that the regulatory conditions for preparing the breakthrough of autonomous driving are more advanced in the US than they are in Europe. When it comes to future technology, we can build on comparably strong foundations.” — Herbert Diess, Chief Executive Officer, Volkswagen AG
It was clarified that right off the bat, the two companies would be focusing on the development of a mid-size ute, likely a project that’ll culminate in a new-generation Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok arriving around 2022. There’ll also be a couple of vans around that time, namely an urban-runabout van by Volkswagen and a 1-tonne commercial Transit by Ford.