Volkswagen Group chief executive Herbert Diess has denied claims that the German automaker will merge with Ford, The Detroit Free Press reports.
Ever since VW and Ford announced that they would jointly develop and manufacture a selection of commercial vehicles, speculation has been rife that the partnership could extend into other areas.
Speaking to members of the media at a news conference in Germany on Friday, however, Diess denied such assertions, claiming that a merger was “never” considered as part of the discussions on future collaborations. This falls in line with previous statements that a strategic alliance between the companies “would not involve equity arrangements, including cross ownership takes.”
“We’re looking into common platforms that we have. Ford is very strong in the U.S.; we are strong in other markets,” Diess added.
While a merger won’t happen, the car manufacturers have failed to rule out the possibility that their partnership could extend beyond commercial vehicles.
“Our MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with VW covers conversations across a number of areas. It is premature to share additional details at this time,” Ford spokeswoman Jennifer Flake said.
It is widely thought that the automakers could join forces to develop a fleet of electric vehicles and self-driving technologies. Doing so would slash research and development costs for the companies while also generating huge revenue figures.
A statement on the Volkswagen website says that the partnership with Ford will help both companies but that the two will remain competitors and not work together on commercial, marketing or pricing strategies.
“The talks with Ford about an industrial cooperation announced earlier are progressing positively so far. The two companies complement each other very well in terms of both products and regions. The joint development and manufacture of a range of light commercial vehicles is at the core of the envisaged cooperation,” the statement reads.