Despite plenty of chatter about US President Donald Trump looking at ways to keep German vehicles out of the U.S., German automaker Volkswagen (VW) isn’t showing any sign of fear as it was revealed on Tuesday that the company would be entering into an alliance with American automaker Ford to better compete in the global market.
The two companies announced they had signed the paperwork to explore “a strategic alliance designed to strengthen each company’s competitiveness.”
Shortly before Ford and VW confirmed their interest in joining forces, the media began reporting on rumors that the two companies would be working on pickup trucks and vans, but Ford has expressed that it is too soon to tell where their work with VW will land the two companies down the road. For now, the alliance appears to be centered on the commercial market instead of on consumer vehicles.
it is of utmost importance to gain flexibility through alliances
In a statement confirming VW’s role in the alliance, head of VW Group’s strategy division, Thomas Sedran, all but confirmed the commercial route of the deal. He noted that both groups have “strong and complementary positions in different commercial vehicle segments,” and in order to “adapt to the challenging environment, it is of utmost importance to gain flexibility through alliances… The potential industrial cooperation with Ford is seen as an opportunity to improve the competitiveness of both companies globally.”
For some, a VW/Ford joint effort may sound familiar as this is not the first time both companies have collaborated together. The two companies joined forces in 1987 to make cars for Brazil and Argentina — commonly referred to as Autolatina — but the partnership lasted less than a decade, ending in 1995.
With very few details leaving the boardrooms, it’s too soon to get excited about what the future of this agreement holds. We do know that VW expressed interest in developing their first pickup truck when it introduced a concept model at this year’s New York Auto Show and that Ford knows a thing or two about how to build them, but for now, that doesn’t appear to be at the core of the newly signed alliance.