With the threat of tariffs looming, executives from BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen meet with the Trump administration to discuss a number of important issues.
Reuters reports White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss “investment opportunities” in the United States such as manufacturing and research and development. The overall goal was to put pressure on the companies to build more vehicles in the United States and create more jobs.
While details of the meeting are just coming out, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess reportedly stressed the importance of their partnership talks with Ford. In a separate report, Reuters says Diess told the administration “We are in quite advanced negotiations and dialog with Ford Corporation to really build up a global automotive alliance, which also would strengthen the American automotive industry.”
The talks are at such an advanced stage that Diess said “We might use Ford capacity here in the U.S. to build cars for us.” This could potentially be a win-win situation for everyone involved as it would keep workers employed, fill underutilized Ford plants and save Volkswagen the expense of building a new production facility in North America.
While the executive stopped short of confirming this was a sure thing, he stated additional information about the alliance will be announced in January.
Besides hinting at the possibility of using Ford plants, Diess said the automaker is considering a second plant in the United States. He didn’t say much about the proposed plant, but noted they are in “advanced negotiations in Tennessee, but there might be other options as well.” This seems to suggest the company wants to build another plant in the state, but is willing to build elsewhere given enough incentive.
Ford and Volkswagen announced they were exploring a strategic alliance back in June and would examine a number of potential projects where they could join forces. While the initial talks focused on a commercial van partnership, they have reportedly expanded to include a number of jointly-developed vehicles. Details remain hazy, but rumors have suggested Volkswagen could receive its own version of the Ranger and Transit.