VW aims at Ford as a strategic EV partner
According to persistent rumours, car manufacturer Volkswagen will collaborate with America’s number two, Ford, on the further development of the electric and autonomous car.
According to Reuters press agency, VW Group CEO, Herbert Diess, will announce the collaboration next week when he presents the next 10-year plan to the board. German newspaper, Handelsblatt, says that VW will share its new EV platform MEB with Ford.
Car manufacturers are confronted these days with huge investments: there are the normal ones concerning the renewal of their portfolio but there is also the somewhat more distant future of the electric and autonomous car. VW has already announced that it spent 12 billion euro in the development of the electric and autonomous car, but it also has to deal with the financial consequences of dieselgate (27 billion euro at the moment), the recall of diesel cars and a claim of chip supplier, Broadcom, for 1 billion dollar of patent violations.
It seems more than logical that VW is looking for a partner to share this high development costs with and the choice has fallen on Ford. In Europe, Ford is not doing so well and no big competitor for VW. On the other hand, it has concluded a joint venture on autonomous driving with the Chinese technology company, Baidu, and China is a very important market for Volkswagen.
What about Audi?
Some see this collaboration as a disapproving move toward Audi, which until now was the leading technology firm (“Vorsprung Durch Technik” is still the slogan in Ingolstadt, Audi’s HQ) within the VW Group and launches its first electric car, the e-tron, soon.
Of course, the fact that the diesel fraud was technically developed by Audi engineers and that the stubbornness of former Audi CEO, Rupert Stadler, recently released from jail after 4 months in custody, caused uncertainty within the whole group, hasn’t helped the good relationship.
However, you have to take into account that Audi is still the most important premium brand in the VW Group and until now the biggest cash cow. It now has the huge task to renew its portfolio as soon as possible and to develop a proper answer to the electric and autonomous car developed by the competition. Every help it can get will be accepted with enthusiasm, also when it comes from Ford.