This morning at a press conference in New York, Ford and Volkswagen confirmed plans to further expand their global alliance, working together now on both electric vehicle development and the advancement of autonomous, self-driving technology. As part of the agreement, Volkswagen is committing both resource and investment to Argo AI, Ford’s partner in autonomous vehicle development. At the same time, Ford is gaining access to Volkswagen’s advanced electric-vehicle architecture for new Ford-branded vehicles in Europe.
Please find below brief commentary from the experts and analysts at Cox Automotive.
Michelle Krebs, executive analyst, Autotrader
Ford and VW’s alliances collaborating on autonomous vehicles through Argo AI and electric vehicles makes sense. The financial investment into these technologies is immense, with no immediate payback on the horizon, and the engineering talent to develop these technologies is scarce and in high demand. Combining forces not only means sharing resources but ultimately achieving scale and global reach that will advance the technologies faster.
Akshay Anand, executive analyst, Kelley Blue Book
The announcement between Ford and VW speaks to two main issues. One, we continue to head towards an autonomous future, and big and small companies alike are scrambling to be ready for this future. And two, as automotive becomes more and more complex, the necessity for partnerships and alliances is more important than ever, as one company cannot bankroll the development alone. Partnerships will continue to ramp up in coming years, crossing boundaries most would not have envisioned even 10 years ago.
Matt DeLorenzo, senior managing editor, Kelley Blue Book
Teaming up on AI/autonomous vehicle technology makes sense and we are likely to see larger consortiums of various manufacturers coming together to develop these systems. The Ford/VW approach where they share in the venture without cross ownership is a roadmap on how a lot of these deals will be struck in the coming years.
As for the EV portion of the agreement, 600,000 small EVs for Europe by Ford based on the MEB platform seems to be a rather ambitious goal. However, the fact that Ford will have access to MEB, which is an architecture that can support both cars and trucks, underscores its commitment to minimize its investments in car platforms and concentrate more on crossovers and trucks with its own resources, along with additional truck EV entries it is able to develop with Rivian.
If you would like to speak to anyone from the Autotrader or Kelley Blue Book team, feel free to reach out to the Cox Automotive Public Relations team.