FORD AND VOLK­SWA­GEN SIGN AGREE­MENTS FOR JOINT PROJECTS ON COM­MER­CIAL VE­HI­CLES, EVS, AU­TON­O­MOUS DRIV­ING

PMV Middle East - - FRONT END -

Ford Mo­tor Com­pany and Volk­swa­gen AG signed agree­ments that ex­pand their global al­liance to meet rapidly evolv­ing needs of their re­spec­tive cus­tomers in Europe and other re­gions by lever­ag­ing com­ple­men­tary strengths in mid­size pickup trucks and com­mer­cial and elec­tric ve­hi­cles.

Plans for the agree­ments were first an­nounced by Ford and Volk­swa­gen last July.

The al­liance will:

• Pro­duce a medium pickup truck en­gi­neered and built by Ford, for sale by Volk­swa­gen as the Amarok start­ing in 2022 within the Volk­swa­gen Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles lineup

• Fur­ther strengthen the com­mer­cial-ve­hi­cles busi­nesses of both com­pa­nies as early as

2021 – with a city de­liv­ery van based on the lat­est Caddy model, de­vel­oped and built by Volk­swa­gen Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles and later a 1-ton cargo van cre­ated by Ford, and

• Lead to a highly dif­fer­en­ti­ated Ford elec­tric ve­hi­cle for Europe by 2023 built on Volk­swa­gen’s mod­u­lar elec­tric drive, or MEB, tool­kit, ex­pand­ing on Ford’s zero-emis­sion ca­pa­bil­i­ties in the re­gion.

Dur­ing the life­cy­cles of the prod­ucts, the com­pa­nies ex­pect to pro­duce up to a com­bined 8 mil­lion of the medium pickup truck and both com­mer­cial vans in­cluded in the com­mer­cial re­la­tion­ships.

“In light of the Covid 19 pan­demic and its im­pacts on the global econ­omy, more than ever it is vi­tal to set up re­silient al­liances be­tween strong com­pa­nies,” said Volk­swa­gen Group CEO Dr. Herbert Diess. “This col­lab­o­ra­tion will ef­fi­ciently drive down de­vel­op­ment costs, al­low­ing broader global dis­tri­bu­tion of elec­tric and com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles, and en­hance the po­si­tions of both com­pa­nies.”

“This al­liance comes at a time of tremen­dous en­thu­si­asm about the in­ter­sec­tion of in­creas­ingly in­tel­li­gent, con­nected ve­hi­cles in an ever-smarter world,” said Ford CEO

Jim Hack­ett. “This cre­ates a huge op­por­tu­nity to in­no­vate and solve many of the world’s trans­porta­tion chal­lenges and de­liver ex­tra­or­di­nary ben­e­fits to cus­tomers – even as com­pa­nies need to be se­lec­tive about how they use their cash.”

Ford and Volk­swa­gen both have strong com­mer­cial van and pickup busi­nesses around the world, in­clud­ing pop­u­lar mod­els such as Ford’s Transit and Ranger and Volk­swa­gen Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cle’s Trans­porter, Crafter, Caddy and Amarok.

Ford’s use of Volk­swa­gen’s MEB ar­chi­tec­ture in Europe will rep­re­sent an­other corner­stone in Volk­swa­gen’s elec­tric ve­hi­cle strat­egy, and fur­ther efforts by both com­pa­nies to ful­fill their com­mit­ments to the Paris 2015 Agree­ment. Volk­swa­gen and Ford plan to ex­plore ad­di­tional ways to co­op­er­ate on elec­tric ve­hi­cles.

Over sev­eral years start­ing in 2023, Ford could de­liver 600,000 elec­tric ve­hi­cles atop the MEB ar­chi­tec­ture, which is de­signed to com­bine space and per­for­mance with elec­tric drive. The ve­hi­cle, which will be de­signed and en­gi­neered by Ford in Cologne-merkenich, will add an­other com­pelling name­plate to its own all-elec­tric Mus­tang Mach-e, which will be in­tro­duced in 2021.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the com­pa­nies will both work with Argo AI to form dis­tinct, highly ca­pa­ble au­ton­o­mous-ve­hi­cle busi­nesses based on

Argo AI’S self-driv­ing tech­nol­ogy. Re­cently, Volk­swa­gen closed its pre­vi­ously an­nounced in­vest­ment in Argo AI, the Pitts­burgh-based com­pany in which Ford al­ready had own­er­ship and de­vel­op­ment in­ter­ests.

Volk­swa­gen and Ford in­de­pen­dently choos­ing to in­vest in Argo AI il­lus­trates the tech­ni­cal lead­er­ship and progress of Argo AI’S self-driv­ing sys­tem, and how al­liances can help en­able de­vel­op­ment of break­through tech­nolo­gies that re­quire sub­stan­tial time and re­sources. Argo AI’S SDS is the first with com­mer­cial de­ploy­ment plans for both Europe and the U.S. The global reach of Ford and Volk­swa­gen will give Argo AI’S plat­form the largest ge­o­graphic de­ploy­ment po­ten­tial of any au­ton­o­mous driv­ing tech­nol­ogy to date. Reach and scale are im­por­tant fac­tors in de­vel­op­ing an SDS that is ro­bust and cost ef­fi­cient.

The Volk­swa­gen/ford al­liance does not in­clude cross-own­er­ship be­tween the com­pa­nies, which will re­main com­peti­tors in the mar­ket­place.

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