Detroit, Michigan – Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen announced a small partnership Tuesday to jointly develop commercial vans and light pickups, primarily for European markets, by 2022.
Though a solid tie-up between the global automakers, the deal falls short of the major alliance that the automakers had hinted at in recent weeks – a deal to jointly develop a large array of consumer vehicles, electric cars, autonomous vehicles, and mainstream products.
Rather than holding a press conference at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) to announce the deal (the show’s media schedule had a major announcement listed for the morning which did not take place), the companies held a short conference to announce the deal.
The companies did call the commercial partnership the first step in a broader alliance, continuing to hint at the possibility for more mainstream joint developments.
Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess and Ford CEO Jim Hackett confirmed that the companies intend to develop commercial vans and medium-sized pickups for global markets beginning as early as 2022.
The companies also signed a memorandum of understanding to investigate collaboration on autonomous vehicles, mobility services, and electric vehicles and have started to explore opportunities.
“Over time, this alliance will help both companies create value and meet the needs of our customers and society,” Hackett said. “It will not only drive significant efficiencies and help both companies improve their fitness, but also gives us the opportunity to collaborate on shaping the next era of mobility.”
Diess added, “Volkswagen and Ford will harness our collective resources, innovation capabilities and complementary market positions to even better serve millions of customers around the world. At the same time, the alliance will be a cornerstone for our drive to improve competitiveness.”
Unlike tighter global alliances, such as Ford’s former ownership stake in Mazda or Nissan’s cross stock ownership relationship with Renault, neither Ford nor Volkswagen plans to buy stock in the other.
Through the alliance, Ford will engineer and build medium-sized pickups for both companies which are expected to go to market as early as 2022. For both parties, Ford intends to engineer and build larger commercial vans for European customers, and Volkswagen intends to develop and build a city van.
About the author: Robert Schoenberger is the editor of Today's Motor Vehicles and a contributor to Today's Medical Developments and Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. He has written about the automotive industry for more than 18 years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.