July 02, 2018
Volkswagen vans and Ford vans are two of the dominant brands on the market and now they’ve announced a strategic alliance that will include ‘several joint projects’ including one to develop new vans.
Two of the automotive industry’s biggest hitters are in talks to develop a strategic alliance which is designed to enhance the competitiveness of both companies and improve the customer’s offering worldwide. Ford and Volkswagen have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that is envisioned to mark the beginning of numerous joint ventures, however the only one mentioned explicitly is centred around developing new vans, with Ford vans and Volkswagen vans teaming up.
A joint statement from Ford vans and Volkswagen vans has revealed that any strategic alliance between the two would not involve either of the firms taking any stake of ownership in eachother. The alliance is more likely to take the format of technology sharing between the brands and also sharing development costs on major projects.
President of global markets at Ford, Jim Farley spoke of the opportunities posed by the Strategic alliance: “Ford is committed to improving our fitness as a business and leveraging adaptive business models – which include working with partners to improve our effectiveness and efficiency. This potential alliance with the Volkswagen Group is another example of how we can become more fit as a business, while creating a winning global product portfolio and extending our capabilities. We look forward to exploring with the Volkswagen team in the days ahead how we might work together to better serve the evolving needs of commercial vehicle customers – and much more.”
Head of strategy at Volkswagen Group, Dr. Thomas Sedran also commented on the alliance: “Markets and customer demand are changing at an incredible speed. Both companies have strong and complementary positions in different commercial vehicle segments already. To adapt to the challenging environment, it is of utmost importance to gain flexibility through alliances. This is a core element of our Volkswagen Group Strategy 2025. The potential industrial cooperation with Ford is seen as an opportunity to improve competitiveness of both companies globally.”
Ford and Volkswagen have collaborated in the past, with them joining forces in the 90s for a joint venture which saw the Ford Galaxy, Volkswagen Sharan and SEAT Alhambra 7-seat MPV cars which were built the same platform at the AutoEuropa plant in Portugal.
The new van market is littered with platform sharing, however Ford vans currently go it alone with the iconic Ford Transit range, whilst Volkswagen vans recently parted company with their alliance with Mercedes vans on the development of their large Crafter van, maybe an opportunity for collaboration in this space. Beyond that, there are currently a massive range of challenges facing the new van market, in the cost of developing the next generation of electric and hybrid powertrains, making the sharing of expertise and resources appear increasingly attractive.
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