Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group may make a substantial joint announcement at next week’s Detroit Auto Show. Sources say the two automakers have come to an agreement regarding a more comprehensive alliance than one already confirmed regarding commercial vehicles.
“A global alliance is expected to be announced,” one person familiar with the alliance talks told Reuters. Thus far reports have failed to capture details surrounding the alliance, but it is speculated the two automakers will collaborate on new technology. It’s expected Ford will share its autonomous driving technology with VW, while VW may license its MEB electric vehicle architecture to Ford for their own battery-electric products.
Previous reports also suggested VW is interested in utilizing some of Ford’s manufacturing capacity in the U.S. for its own products. This arrangement would save the German automaker substantial money, particularly if some Ford plants are already tooled to build MEB vehicles; the architecture that will underpin a host of VW products.
Both automakers are looking forward opportunities to save R&D costs and gain flexibility when navigating pending global trade deals, which have complicated future planning for all automakers. A sales slowdown in the world’s largest auto market, China, has also added additional pressure on automakers.
In addition to automation and electrification, the two automakers have reportedly already made a deal regarding commercial vehicles. VW has expressed interest in gaining access to the Ford Transit van and Ranger midsize pickup.
The rumored announcement between the two automakers is expected to take place next Tuesday.