Ford and the Volkswagen Group are joining forces and will begin to build trucks and commercial vans together. The two significant automakers announced their new collaboration on Tuesday.
They say they are also exploring the options of co-creating autonomous and electric vehicles as well as new mobility services under a 'memorandum of understanding.'
Their first vehicle mutually developed is set to be a medium-sized pickup truck with a release date of 2020.
Companies past investments compliment
The companies are complimenting each other by bringing to the table lots of research and development in different areas of a rapidly changing mobile market.
Volkswagen has invested heavily in electric vehicles and is on the edge of rolling out an entirely new all-electric fleet.
Ford has been late to the EV party but instead has been experimenting with rideshare services that even include bikes and scooters. Meanwhile, both companies are excited about the possibility of autonomous vehicles.
Ford invested early in Argo an artificial intelligence company that was developing its own software stack for self-driving cars. Argo has been doing real-world testing for several years.
Five months ago, Ford, they announced a 4 billion dollar commitment to autonomous driving that included a reshuffle of the company to put all autonomous research and development under the same umbrella.
“Ford has made tremendous progress across the self-driving value chain — from technology development to business model innovation to user experience,” said Ford CEO Jim Hackett at the time of the announcement.
“Now is the right time to consolidate our autonomous driving platform into one team to best position the business for the opportunities ahead.”
Companies might work together on a shared transport system
Volkswagen, on the other hand, has had a few differing partnerships with self-driving companies. They also have Audi doing some in-house development.
Both companies have had their fair share of hardship over the last few years, Volkswagen was rocked by their emission scandal, and Ford has just announced its need to slash jobs across the company's profits flatlined.
While electric trucks and autonomous delivery systems are likely to be the core of logistics in the future. The company's decision to invest first in trucks and vans seems wise given the volatility of the passenger car market.