The VW Group has signed an initial contract with Ford that will see the automakers co-develop a successor to the Amarok, based on the same platform as the Ranger mid-size pickup, which in turn could help VW lower its development costs.
According to VW Commercial Vehicles CEO Thomas Sedran, other joint projects with Ford could follow and might range from additional vehicle projects to autonomous driving or shared use of electric mobility platforms, reports Autonews Europe.
“We are in constructive talks about taking a stake in Argo, the Ford division for autonomous driving. A joint company for offering mobility as a service is also a possibility,” said Sedran, while adding that these talks will come to a conclusion in the coming months.
Ford bought Argo AI (a Pittsburgh-based self-driving startup) back in 2017. However, since then, development costs for autonomous tech have gone up, prompting several automakers to consider alliances either with outside investors or even direct rivals.
Last month, it was reported that VW was gearing up for a $600 million equity investment in Argo, basically splitting ownership costs with Ford. VW would then invest $1.1 billion in working capital for Argo’s R&D operations.
The two automakers made their global partnership official back in January, and together, they have sold roughly 1.2 million light commercial vehicles throughout last year. With demand for both mid-size pickups and commercial vans expected to go up in the next five years, this could turn out to be one of the industry’s highest-volume collaboration.