Rumours of a partnership between automotive giants Ford and Volkswagen have been circulating for months now. That partnership now looks like it may become reality, and as early as next month. Speculation is rife that the companies will officially announce a deal in January.
According to a report by CNBC, the two firms are expected to make the announcement soon after the start of the New Year. From some angles, this looks like a melding of two very different families, while from others, it’s a logical result that could lead to the realization of some very substantial projects.
As is often the case, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.
Of course we don’t yet know the details of the arrangement for this alliance, and in any case it is not yet a done deal. Those who have been following the negotiations believe that much of the partnership will focus on sharing technologies, but some believe the alliance will take things much farther than that. Last week, for example, we reported on the possibility that Volkswagen might use some of Ford’s assembly plants in North America that are not currently operating at full capacity.
It’s also not inconceivable that some vehicles on both sides could share components and platforms. Volkswagen has already said that it is open to the idea of developing a pickup based on a Ford truck platform. This immediately brings to mind Ford’s new Ranger truck, just introduced at a launch event in San Diego (stay tuned on Auto123.com for our first drive review early next week). The Ranger’s platform could well serve to underpin the next generation of the Amarok truck that VW currently sells in overseas markets.
Then there’s the entire electric mobility domain, where it’s very easy to imagine any number of possible collaborative efforts between the automotive giants. R&D in this field is an expensive endeavour, to say the least, and the right partnership could allow both automakers to significantly reduce expenses. At the end of the day consumers could only benefit from this kind of cost sharing.
We’ll be watching closely after the New Year to see how the partnership shapes up. The consumers Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and the Detroit auto show will be two events to watch.
Ford and Volkswagen – who would have imagined it just a few short years ago?