The Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group will build midsize pickup trucks and commercial vans for each other as part of a global alliance announced today. The two automakers do not plan any cross-ownership equity transfers, and so far there is no talk of creating a broader business entity like Nissan-Renault’s 20-year-old alliance, but a memorandum of understanding could potentially expand the collaboration in the future, said Ford CEO Jim Hackett. “As someone in the business for less than two years, my opinion is that you can’t do this alone,” Hackett said.
The partnership will start in 2022 with each company assembling Ford Rangers and Volkswagen Amoraks for each other in their assembly plants in South America, Africa, and Europe, according to Ford Motor product chief Jim Farley. The following year the alliance will also extend to Ford building VW vans at its Turkish plant, and VW potentially building commercial vehicles for Ford in Hanover, Germany.
U.S.-market plans remain unclear. Neither side was ready to comment on the possibility of the Amorak being built in North America, which would circumvent the 55-year-old “chicken tax” that makes the importation of European commercial trucks economically prohibitive .(Ford vans imported from Turkey are built as passenger vehicles, and their side windows are replaced with steel panels in the U.S.)
The two automakers are also in discussions about sharing autonomous and electric-power technology, and co-developing other mobility services. The VW Group has previously announced plans to become the global leader in electric-powered vehicles by 2025, and on Monday at the North American International Auto Show, the German automaker announced an $800-million investment in EV production at its Chattanooga, Tennessee, assembly plant site.
Ford also recently announced a new strategy to develop five global vehicle platforms that appears to be similar in scope to VW Group’s modular architecture approach. Diess said he expects the Ford-VW alliance to become a powerhouse in the midsize pickup and commercial-van segment. He called the two automakers “like-minded partners with similar views and aspirations.
“Our approach is smart and pragmatic,” Diess said. “Our alliance is visionary.”