If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em — or so Ford and Volkswagen’s recently forged alliance suggests.
The two companies have announced an alliance to “boost competitiveness” and “better serve customers”.
But read the fine print and going forward it’s revealed that Ford will engineer and build medium-sized pickups for both companies — with the marriage expected to produce issue as early as 2022.
In effect, it means the next generation Amarok will be a Ranger with a new German suit of clothes — a Ramarok if you like — in much the same way as the Benz ute is a Nissan Navara under the skin.
Further, Ford intends to engineer and build larger commercial vans for European customers, while Volkswagen intends to develop and build a city van.
This new synergy is expected to drive significant scale and efficiencies that enable both companies to share investments in vehicle architectures that deliver distinct capabilities and technologies.
The companies estimate the commercial van and pickup cooperation will yield improved annual pre-tax operating results, starting in 2023.
In addition, Volkswagen and Ford have signed a memorandum of understanding to investigate collaboration on autonomous vehicles, mobility services and electric vehicles and have started to explore opportunities.
Both companies say they are also open to further collaboration in the future, with teams to continue working through details in the coming months.
Volkswagen CEO Dr Herbert Diess and Ford CEO Jim Hackett confirmed the companies intend to develop commercial vans and medium-sized pickups for global markets beginning as early as 2022.
“Over time, this alliance will help both companies create value and meet the needs of our customers and society,” Hackett said.
“It will not only drive significant efficiencies and help both companies improve their fitness, but also gives us the opportunity to collaborate on shaping the next era of mobility.”
Diess added: “Volkswagen and Ford will harness our collective resources, innovation capabilities and complementary market positions to even better serve millions of customers around the world. At the same time, the alliance will be a cornerstone for our drive to improve competitiveness.”
The alliance, which does not entail cross-ownership, will be administered by a joint committee, headed up by Hackett and Diess and will include senior executives from both companies.
Demand for both medium pickups and commercial vans is expected to grow globally in the next five years.
The companies’ collective light commercial vehicle volumes from 2018 totaled approximately 1.2 million units globally, which could represent the industry’s highest-volume collaboration as production scales.
Ford and Volkswagen both have strong commercial van and pickup businesses around the globe, with popular nameplates such as the Ford Transit family and Ranger as well as the Volkswagen Transporter, Caddy and Amarok.