Volkswagen and Ford are reportedly very close to finalizing their deal to cooperate in electric car technology and autonomous vehicles.
While speaking at a gathering of VW’s 500 most senior executives in Germany, chief executive Herbert Diess said the talks with the Dearborn car manufacturer are “progressing well” and are on the verge of being finalized, Bloomberg reports.
“Without a strong presence in the U.S. — still our weakest region — global trade conflicts risk putting us in a dire situation. Today we are a company that’s strongly influenced by China. We need a counterweight in the U.S,” Diess said during his presentation.
The partnership between VW and Ford is already set to see the car manufacturers join forces to develop vans and pickup trucks.
Details about the tie-up regarding electric vehicles and self-driving technologies are still unclear but it is thought that VW may invest in Ford’s autonomous affiliate Argo AI in a deal which could be announced as early as next month. This would make sense as VW recently ended its partnership with autonomous-driving developer Aurora.
VW believes its partnership with Ford will help to bump up its valuation which, according to Diess, is “an important acquisition currency in the upcoming phase of consolidation in the industry,” adding that a high valuation is also “a virtual currency for partnerships that we need for the transformation.”
The German brand is currently experiencing a downturn in demand across China in the midst of record falling overall sales, rising trade tensions and tightening emissions regulations.