Ford and Volkswagen have confirmed they are exploring a strategic alliance that would “strengthen each company’s competitiveness and better serve customers globally.”
Details are limited but the companies have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding and will examine a number of potential projects where they could join forces. The companies were tight-lipped on specifics but did mention the possibility of developing a “range of commercial vehicles together to better serve the evolving needs of customers.”
Ford and Volkswagen stressed the potential alliance would not involve any equity or cross ownership stakes but both companies could stand to benefit from teaming up. Joint vehicles tend to be more affordable to develop and produce as costs are spread out. The increased sales volume could also help to lower prices of shared components.
The news comes hot on the heels of a report from Reuters which suggested the companies were eyeing a commercial van partnership. Volkswagen previously partnered with Mercedes to sell a version of the Sprinter but the latest Crafter was developed in house.
Ford and Volkswagen both offer an assortment of commercial vehicles as the American company sells the Transit Connect, Transit and E-Series. Volkswagen, on the other hand, offers the Caddy, Crafter and T6.
Ford president of global markets, Jim Farley, said “Ford is committed to improving our fitness as a business and leveraging adaptive business models – which include working with partners to improve our effectiveness and efficiency.” He went on to say “This potential alliance with the Volkswagen Group is another example of how we can become more fit as a business, while creating a winning global product portfolio and extending our capabilities.”
His sentiments were echoed by Volkswagen Group Strategy boss, Dr. Thomas Sedran, who said “Both companies have strong and complementary positions in different commercial vehicle segments already” and the “potential industrial cooperation with Ford is seen as an opportunity to improve competitiveness of both companies globally.”
While most of the discussions seem to center on commercial vehicles, it’s worth noting there are several projects under consideration. Farley seemed to allude to this fact by mentioning “We look forward to exploring with the Volkswagen team, in the days ahead, how we might work together to better serve the evolving needs of commercial vehicle customers – and much more.”