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NEW YORK — Ford and the Volkswagen Group on Friday announced that they would step up their global alliance, first announced in January.
As part of the increased cooperation, Ford will be the first automaker to use VW’s “modular electric toolkit,” or MEB, an electric vehicle platform designed to make the cars cheaper to produce. VW will also invest $2.6 billion in ArgoAI, a self-driving startup in which Ford invested $1 billion in 2017.
W CEO Herbert Diess and Ford CEO Jim Hackett were on hand to update the media at an event held on Wall Street in lower Manhattan.
“We aim to make the MEB a new standard for our industry and thus turn the electric car from a niche product into a mass phenomenon,” Diess told the analysts, investors, and journalists in attendance. “Opening the MEB drives down production costs, opens up cost savings potential, and allows for electric vehicles at a lower price.”
Volkswagen is the world’s largest automaker, while Ford is No. 2 in the US. VW has been moving aggressively since its Dieselgate scandal to embrace electrification, as electric vehicles are expected to be critically important to its business in Europe and China.
Both companies also will continue to target additional areas where they can work together on electric vehicles – a key strategic priority for both companies as they drive to accelerate the transition to sustainable and affordable mobility
Ford has been engaged in an $11-billion restructuring since Hackett took over in 2017, maintaining its historically profitable pickup truck leadership while pressing forward on autonomous vehicles and its own electrification strategies.
“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,” Hackett said in a statement.
“Unlocking the synergies across a range of areas allows us to showcase the power of our global alliance in this era of smart vehicles for a smart world.”