Ford and Volkswagen confirmed today that the two companies are forging a partnership concerning commercial vans and pickup trucks, along with plans in motion for future collaboration on electric vehicles and autonomous technology.
As soon as 2022, Ford will develop a medium-sized pickup and a large commercial van for VW, both to be sold globally in Africa, South America, and Europe. Effectively the successor to the Amarok, this future VW pickup will be based on the Ford Ranger, while the large van will use the European Ford Transit Custom as its foundation. In return, as early as 2023, VW will provide a smaller city van for Ford.
VW CEO Herbert Diess and Ford CEO Jim Hackett are billing the alliance as a strategic way to utilize the strengths and regional advantages of their respective companies, saving both organizations development resources and positioning each brand for a positive future.
Perhaps more importantly, the two companies announced that they are seriously looking into a second collaboration focusing on electric vehicles, autonomy, and mobility. Just this week VW announced it is investing $800M in its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, where EVs for North America will be built. Nothing is definitive yet, and the two companies aren’t saying much more, but it’s possible Ford could see the fruits of that platform in exchange for some of its autonomy and mobility technology. China is a possible market where the first results of this partnership could play out.
As for whether VW could ever sell the Amarok in the U.S., that’s still an open question, but neither company categorically ruled it out. Realistically it would mean Ford welcoming a competitor into the midsize pickup space only a few years after rejoining it, although both CEOs were clear that the two products will have distinctive customer experiences that will be “clearly discernible.”