VW, Ford announce alliance to build commercial vans, pickups

DETROIT (AFP) – Volkswagen (VW) and Ford announced a new alliance last Tuesday to jointly develop commercial vans and pickups starting in 2022, a bid to reduce costs in the increasingly competitive auto market.

The American and German auto giants have been talking for more than six months about an alliance, including potential cooperation on autonomous and electrification technologies for cars of the future.

But the two sides were able to hash out an agreement only on commercial vehicles in time for an announcement during the Detroit auto show.

Initially scheduled as an appearance on the show’s biggest stage, the announcement was scaled back to a phone conference with reporters and investment analysts.

The American and German giants will join forces to develop commercial vans and medium-sized pickups as early as 2022. But the deal does not involve cross-ownership, the companies said in a statement.

They also will “investigate collaboration on autonomous vehicles, mobility services and electric vehicles and have started to explore those opportunities”.

VW CEO Herbert Diess said the alliance “will be a cornerstone for our drive to improve competitiveness”.

Under the alliance, to be governed by a joint committee headed by the chief executives of the two companies, Ford will engineer and build medium-sized commercial pickups for both firms. Ford also will build large commercial vans for European customers and VW will develop a city van.

The city van would be designed for the European market, while the medium-sized pickup truck would be specific to South America, Africa and Europe, Ford said.