Ford, Volkswagen Finalize Partnership to Build EV, Delivery Vans, and Pickup Truck

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【Summary】Additionally, the partnership will give Volkswagen an in with Argo AI, the autonomous vehicle startup based in Pittsburgh that is backed by Ford.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jul 21, 2020 11:00 AM PT
Ford, Volkswagen Finalize Partnership to Build EV, Delivery Vans, and Pickup Truck

Reports of Ford and Volkswagen coming together in an alliance first started coming out in January 2019. Back then, all we knew was that the two massive brands would partner to work on electric cars, commercial vans, and autonomous technology. Now, the two automakers have put out some more information on what we can look forward to from the two brands.

Big Things Are Coming

The most exciting bit of news for consumers is the introduction of a medium pickup truck that will be offered as the Volkswagen Amarok. The pickup will go on sale in 2022 and will be engineered by Ford. Ford only has one medium pickup truck in its lineup, the Ford Ranger, so it's highly likely that the upcoming Amarok will be based on that vehicle. Furthermore, reports indicate that the Ranger will receive a redesign for 2022, which should line up with the release date of the Amarok.

Volkswagen will provide Ford with the architecture from its Caddy commercial van. With the architecture, both Ford and VW will work together on a city delivery van that could come out as soon as 2021. Later on, Ford will introduce a 1-ton cargo van for commercial use.

Beyond the Mustang Mach-E, Ford has been slow to introduce electric vehicles. The traditional brand is looking to shake things up, but engineering battery packs and an electric platform will take some time. On the other hand, VW was forced to get a head start on electric vehicles because of Dieselgate, so it already has these pricey products in its arsenal. For Ford, this partnership will see it receive Volkswagen's Modular Electric Drive platform that Ford will utilize to introduce an electric car for the European market by 2023.  

Why A Partnership Makes Sense

Lastly, VW will be able to get a foot in the door with Argo AI, an artificial intelligence company that's working on autonomous technology that's based out of Pittsburgh. Both Ford and Volkswagen have made major investments into the company, so working together to bring autonomous technology to the road is a good idea. Ford announced that it would invest $1 billion into the company over five years in 2017, while Volkswagen upped the ante with a $2.6 billion investment in 2019.

This partnership comes at a good time, as the coronavirus has put automakers in a precarious situation. Alliances are becoming more commonplace as brands look to cut costs and pool resources to prepare for the large changes that are taking place in the automotive industry.

"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."

Unfortunately, for consumers in the U.S., it doesn't look like we'll get to see any benefits from the partnership, unless you're interested in purchasing commercial vehicles. It's unlikely that Volkswagen will sell the Amarok in the U.S. and it sounds like Ford will only sell its EV in Europe. Still, the partnership is something to get excited about, as future products could be sold in America.

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