The global automotive industry has just been rocked.
The Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG have just announced that they have formed an alliance that will leverage the strengths of both companies on a global scale.
“Volkswagen and Ford will harness our collective resources, innovation capabilities and complementary market positions to even better serve millions of customers around the world,” said Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG. “At the same time, the alliance will be a cornerstone for our drive to improve competitiveness.”
Such an alliance will be the second of its kind and based on the announcements, it will be geared to mirror what made the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance (RNMA) extremely successful. Things such as sharing costs and resources on product research and development, autonomous technology, electric vehicles, vehicle architectures (platforms), maximizing manufacturing capacities, and other cost-saving synergies will be pursued by the newly-minted alliance.
Unlike the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, the Ford-Volkswagen Alliance (or Volkswagen-Ford Alliance?) will not entail any cross-ownership between the brands.
“Over time, this alliance will help both companies create value and meet the needs of our customers and society,” said Ford CEO Jim Hackett. “It will not only drive significant efficiencies and help both companies improve their fitness, but also gives us the opportunity to collaborate on shaping the next era of mobility.”
The first product range that Volkswagen and Ford intend to work on together will be in the field of light commercial vehicles (or LCVs) specifically pick-up trucks and vans.
Prioritizing the LCVs is a logical step, moreso than immediately pursuing EVs and self-driving cars. Both companies have strong products in terms of commercial vans and pick-up trucks. Ford's products include the Transit van and Ranger, while Volkswagen has the Transporter, Caddy and Amarok. When the sales of both companies are combined in the LCV segment, they would total 1.2 million units globally
In the announcement, Ford will take the lead on developing midsize pick-up for both companies. Ford will also take the lead in developing larger vans while Volkswagen will work on smaller city vans. Despite sharing development, they say both companies will maintain their respective brand characteristics in the final products.
They intend to release the the first road-going fruit of this alliance by 2022, and that will be the pick-up.
We'll gladly call it the Amaranger. Or Rangerok.