Volkswagen and Ford have confirmed they have found other areas of “potential cooperation”, but deny reports that the two companies will merge.
Earlier this year, Volkswagen and Ford announced a huge partnership where they would both share the development of their next generation of commercial vehicles. Since then, rumors abound that the partnership has expanded to include far more than mere commercial vehicles, including the next generation of mid-size pickup and now even discussion about a possibly sharing electric vehicle tech.
At Volkswagen’s annual board meeting press conference, Autocar reports that VW CEO Herbert Diess told reporters that both Ford and VW have "identified other potential cooperation with Ford outside of commercial vehicles."
What those potential areas are remains a tightly guarded secret, but reports from this summer state that the two companies are joining forces to jointly create the next generation of midsize pickup. In Ford’s case, that’s the new-to-North-America Ranger, while on the VW side it’s the Amarok.
However, Diess was quick to shut down rumors of a potential merger of the two automotive giants. "That was never the objective of our talks,” he said.
Another potential area for cooperation is in electric vehicles. VW has made great strides in electrified powertrains, whereas Ford has yet to release a single blockbuster EV. With VW’s help, Ford could get a leg up on the competition while VW could get a lucrative profit-sharing deal.
At the same press conference, VW also announced an increase in spending for both electric and autonomous vehicle technology by about 10 billion euros over 5 years. This brings the total investment into electric powertrains to 30 billion euros for the next half a decade, with 14 billion being spent on autonomous technologies.
Diess expects that most car buyers will be switching to electric by the year 2020. "For those who drive less than 30,000km a year, electric will be their first choice,” he said.
But internal combustion will still play a part in the VW lineup. "We will offer diesel engines with reduced NOx and carbon levels,” said Diess, assuaging fears that diesel engines will no longer be a product VW considers in the wake of Dieselgate.