Tuesday, 20 August, 2019

Ford and VW agree alliance to build vans and pickups

Trump touts new Volkswagen electric car project in Tennessee Ranger pickup is part of the deal as Ford, VW announce alliance in Detroit - Autoblog
Rhonda Young | 16 January, 2019, 15:24

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess and Ford CEO Jim Hackett confirmed the plans to develop commercial vans and medium-sized pick-ups for global markets beginning as early as 2022. Volkswagen would develop and build a small van for crowded cities.

"Over time, this alliance will help both companies create value and meet the needs of our customers and society", Hackett said.

The two CEOs did not discuss in detail alliances in specific markets including Latin America, where Ford is losing money. That will be based on the existing 1-ton Ford Transit Custom van, again the version not sold in North America.

While the two companies will share some production plans, Hackett said he does not anticipate any work force reduction in any Ford plants as a result of this alliance.

Volkswagen yesterday said it would invest $800m to fit out its auto plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee to make electric vehicles.

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South African bakkie enthusiasts can keenly anticipated a next generation of Ranger and Amarok which perhaps combine the best of what both brands offer: Ford's traditional bakkie ruggedness and workability with VW's car-like bakkie cabin environment and cruising refinement. In his own Bloomberg TV interview, the great-grandson of founder Henry Ford estimated the company is in the third or fourth inning of transforming itself for the demise of the internal combustion engine or the driver at the wheel.

"Cutting costs by sharing vehicle architectures and manufacturing facilities is just table stakes in this new world and is a nice place to start", Caldwell said. There are things that each of the partners do better than the other and as both are not in the greatest shape after a testing 2018, Ford and VW have chose to work together.

Older firms such as Ford and VW are also being forced to catch up with newer, tech-focused firms such as Uber and Tesla in developing self-driving and electric cars.

"It's an attractive area", Hackett said.

Jim Farley, Ford's president of global operations, estimated annual pretax gains of about US$500 million from the agreed vehicle projects for his company.

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"How, where and when this might happen, this is what we are now negotiating with our colleagues at Ford", Diess said in prepared remarks.

Ford and VW announced their partnership against the backdrop of the Detroit auto show. Potential collaboration on electric cars and autonomous driving "are being kicked down the road".

That move won praise from US President Donald Trump, who tweeted Tuesday morning: "Congratulations to Chattanooga and Tennessee on a job well done".

"It is no secret that our industry is undergoing fundamental change, resulting from widespread electrification, ever stricter emission regulation, digitization, the shift towards autonomous driving, and not least the changing customer preferences", Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess told reporters and analysts on a conference call.

In November, he blasted General Motors' decision to idle several plants and cut 14,000 jobs as part of a major restructuring, calling it "unacceptable" and "nasty".

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