The anticipated partnership between Volkswagen and Ford to work on both electric vehicles and self-driving cars appears to be inevitable, based on recent comments from VW CEO Herbert Diess.
Diess said in a meeting with other VW senior executives that talks with Ford were close to being finalized. Bloomberg saw the prepared remarks, which Diess delivered this week.
The two carmakers have an existing “global alliance” involving commercial vans and pickups, which was introduced in January. At that time, it seemed probable that Volkswagen and Ford would extend that partnership into other realms, including EVs, as both companies signed a memorandum of understanding to “investigate collaboration on autonomous vehicles, mobility services and electric vehicles.”
It’s also been expected for some time that the deal will involve autonomous vehicles. Volkswagen just walked away from its partnership with self-driving startup Aurora, and all indications point to the company hooking up with Ford’s self-driving unit Argo.
A February report suggested an upcoming $1.7 billion investment from VW into Ford’s self-driving subsidiary, but there hasn’t been much word about figures since then — if that’s disclosed at all once the deal goes down.
The deal could be announced as early as July.
Beyond EVs and self-driving cars, another reason for strengthening the alliance for VW may be the automaker’s desire to gain a stronger foothold in the American market. From Bloomberg:
“Without a strong presence in the U.S. — still our weakest region — global trade conflicts risk putting us in a dire situation,” Diess said. “Today we are a company that’s strongly influenced by China. We need a counterweight in the U.S.”
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