Economy

Ford, Volkswagen teaming up on autonomous and electric cars

Ford, Volkswagen teaming up on autonomous and electric cars

Volkswagen will invest $2.6 billion in Ford Motor Co.'s autonomous vehicle partner, the companies announced on Friday, as the two firms deepen their alliance to develop electric and self-driving vehicles.

"While Ford and Volkswagen remain independent and fiercely competitive in the marketplace, teaming up and working with Argo AI on this important technology allows us to deliver unmatched capability, scale and geographic reach", Ford CEO and President Jim Hackett said. The company also invested $500 million in EV pickup startup company Rivian in April, which Hackett says is created to accelerate the automaker's knowledge base on EVs and should be seen separately from product development.

VW signed a deal in March to develop a pickup truck using a Ford platform, and the carmakers have been in talks about extending the alliance to include autonomous driving and mobility services, as well as Ford's use of VW's MEB electric-vehicle platform. Volkswagen will officially open up use of its MEB scalable electric-vehicle platform, which Ford will use for an all-new EV model that's aimed to go on sale in 2023. VW will also purchase some Argo AI shares from Ford over three years, bringing the AV subsidiary's total valuation to some $7 billion.

Ford is scheduled to debut a Mustang-inspired electric performance SUV next year, followed by an electric F-150, a model built through a $500 million partnership with startup electric vehicle outfit Rivian and its own modular zero-emissions that should spawn several auto and utility models.

VW CEO Herbert Diess and Ford CEO Jim Hackett discussed the new alliance at a press conference in NY.

Herbert Diess, VW's Chief Executive, said on Friday "Our global alliance is beginning to demonstrate even greater promise, and we are continuing to look at other areas on which we might collaborate". The company hopes to sell 600,000 of them over six years.

France adding an eco tax to flights out of its airports
But she welcomed the fact France was taking action at home, rather than waiting for an EU-wide initiative on airline tax. It has also linked up with the Netherlands to try to convince fellow European nations to tax airline travel more.

Ford is in the midst of an $11 billion restructuring effort. They suggest they will share development of a fully electric vehicle that will come to market by 2023.

The two automakers are now "equal shareholders" of Argo AI, with VW's $2.6 billion investment into the company.

It was not clear if some of those future Ford EVs could migrate to VW's MEB platform, versions of which the German automaker will build in Europe, China and North America.

Volkswagen will contribute its Autonomous Intelligent Driving (AID) company to the venture.

It has sought outside investors to help share the spiraling cost of developing autonomous vehicle technology.