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Ford and Volkswagen explore joint development

Ford and Volkswagen explore joint development

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Their respective governments may not be getting along right now but America’s Ford and Germany’s Volkswagen are planning to pair up for joint development on a range of automotive projects. This could be good news for all of us given that both automakers sit at the quality end of the market.

Depending on what you read, the collaboration could include anything from trucks, technology right through to vans. The two companies didn’t have much to say about the Memorandum of Understanding they signed, except for this from VW:

‘Both companies have strong and complementary positions in different commercial vehicle segments already,’ said VW Group strategy head Thomas Sedran. ‘To adapt to the challenging environment, it is of utmost importance to gain flexibility through alliances.’

And this from Ford:
‘Ford is committed to improving our fitness as a business and leveraging adaptive business models – which include working with partners to improve our effectiveness and efficiency,’ said Jim Farley, Ford’s president of Global Markets. ‘This potential alliance with the Volkswagen Group is another example of how we can become more fit as a business, while creating a winning global product portfolio and extending our capabilities.

‘We look forward to exploring with the Volkswagen team in the days ahead how we might work together to better serve the evolving needs of commercial vehicle customers – and much more,’ Farley added.

Ford – VW
Both automakers have a huge global presence. Ford makes the best-selling van in the world, the Transit and the best-selling truck, the F-150. The Volkswagen group owns Scania and MAN, two of the top-selling truck manufacturers in Europe as well as one of the highest rated European vans, the Transporter. They also own part of Navistar, a US company that builds trucks, buses and school buses.

The prediction is that this joint venture will explore commercial vehicles and economies of scale. It is likely that the two automakers will collaborate on all manner of vehicle elements, including automation and technology.

Car makers are having a tough time keeping up with the speed of development in the technological side of car manufacture. The traditional multi-year development cycle has been turned on its head with the speed of innovation and our desire for the latest in-car technology. Perhaps this is one way for manufacturers to keep up, by helping each other.

Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi has signed a similar Memorandum of Understanding. VW and Toyota are doing much the same thing, as are other automakers. VW are also teaming up with Apple to drive automation, so it’s a fast-moving industry right now and companies are realizing they have to work together to keep up.

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