► Ford and VW in strategic alliance
► Advanced talks, no equity swap
► Likely to build vans together
Ford and Volkswagen have confirmed they are in advanced talks to build a strategic alliance which could see them co-produce vehicles together. A memorandum of understanding has been signed.
Few concrete details have been announced, but the two brands said they were 'investigating several joint projects,' including co-developed commercial vehicles. No: don't expect another VW Sharan/Ford Galaxy any time soon, although we wouldn't rule out cars being jointly built in future.
At this stage, it is not about corporate cross-ownership or sharing equity in each other.
Why are Ford and VW looking to strike a partnership?
The move reflects the expense of developing new models - especially in an age when many manufacturers are having to stump up additional costs to develop costly new digital platforms, extra ownership services and autonomous driving capabilities.
Ford also announced plans to renovate the famous Michigan Central Station in downtown Detroit - a stunning 1914 landmark (above) that has run into disrepair in the Blue Oval's hometown. It will turn the Beaux-Arts Classical building into offices for 5000 software and tech specialists.
'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.'
Meanwhile, the head of VW Group strategy, Thomas Sedran, said: 'Markets and customer demand are changing at an incredible speed. Both companies have strong and complementary positions in different commercial vehicle segments already. To adapt to the challenging environment, it is of utmost importance to gain flexibility through alliances.'
Picture credit: Parkers.co.uk Vans section