With plans for commercial vehicle partnership afoot, Ford and Volkswagen make for good partners as both parties recognise the magnitude of the challenges ahead, according to Ford executive chairman Bill Ford.
“We fit together geographically really well, product line-wise, we fit together well. We both came to the same realisation that as big as our balance sheets are, no company can do this alone,” he said at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston earlier this week, as Bloomberg reports.
Talks between the two automakers are still at an early stage, said Ford, though progress has been made with the establishment of a framework for Volkswagen to invest in Ford’s autonomous vehicle partner, Argo AI, Bloomberg quotes people familiar with the negotiations as saying. Beyond these, the two companies are also said to be considering co-working on electric cars.
On the other side of the collaboration, Volkswagen said it is in ‘very good talks’ with Ford on the expansion of their commercial vehicle tie-up to include autonomous vehicles, said Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess. He added that the Blue Oval is also considering the use of Volkswagen’s MEB electric vehicle platform in Europe and China.
Realities of motoring in the future such as congestion and pollution will play into Ford’s direction, said Bill Ford, adding that he is aiming to reposition the American brand in a way which could see it develop new forms of mobility such as electric scooters.
“I’d like Ford to be around another 100 years, and if that’s going to happen, it’s clear that we really have to branch off into new directions to try to solve some of these problems. It’s hard because our current business model is providing all the earnings and cash flow that fund a lot of this change. So we have to do both really well. If we don’t make great cars and trucks today that people want, guess what? There is no tomorrow,” said the executive chairman.