Ford and Volkswagen are teaming up to explore new technologies in commercial vehicles.
But they aren’t saying exactly how this partnership is going to work.
Big carmakers getting together to share tech happens all the time. Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi have been part of a three-way alliance for some time now. Subaru and Toyota share tons of technology and even a car here and there. Daimler, BMW, and Audi are all partnering to share tech on self-driving cars.
So Ford and Volkswagen getting together is nothing special. What is special is where they’re setting their sights: commercial vehicles.
Historically, Ford has maintained a lead in the commercial truck market (think F-650 and F-750) in North America, while Volkswagen has a lock on the commercial van market in Europe. Combining their efforts will bring some technologies across the segment barrier without either of these companies actually competing with each other in terms of sales.
To that end, Ford and VW signed a memorandum of understanding for a future strategic partnership. It will focus on building new diesel and hybrid-electric powertrains for the commercial vehicle segment, as well as self-driving and wireless connectivity.
It won’t, however, involve any selling or buying of each other's shares like in many of the partnerships we mentioned earlier. This alliance is strictly focused on trucks and vans.
“Both companies have strong and complementary positions in different commercial vehicle segments already,” said Dr. Thomas Sedran, Head of Volkswagen Group Strategy. “To adapt to the challenging environment, it is of utmost importance to gain flexibility through alliances. This is a core element of our Volkswagen Group Strategy 2025. The potential industrial cooperation with Ford is seen as an opportunity to improve the competitiveness of both companies globally.”
This partnership may see some technology shared further than just Ford and VW. Volkswagen already owns the MAN and Scania truck brands that have recently entered into an alliance with Hino, Toyota’s commercial truck brand.
Ford and Volkswagen didn’t provide any specifics as to what they plan to make together, so we’ll have to be patient for what they’re able to cook up. Here’s hoping it’s a diesel-hybrid dump truck.