Ford and VW team up for commercial vehicle development

4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJune 12, 2020

Following plans first announced last July, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG have signed agreements that expand their global alliance to leveraging complementary strengths in midsize pickup trucks and commercial and electric vehicles.

Through the alliance a medium pickup truck will be engineered and built by Ford, for sale by Volkswagen as the Amarok, starting in 2022 within the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles line-up. As lead partner on this project, Ford will in future produce the new version of the Amarok for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) based on the Ranger. The Amarok successor will then be made at Ford‘s Silverton plant in South Africa.

The commercial vehicles businesses of both companies will be further strengthened as early as 2021 – with a city delivery van based on the latest Caddy model unveiled in February, and later a 1-tonne cargo van created by Ford. With VWCV taking the lead on these projects, the city van will be developed and built by VWCV in Poland for Ford to incorporate this van into its range as the Transit Connect.

The 1-tonne cargo van will be developed and produced by Ford. VWCV says the ‘1Ton‘ project will provide an extra boost for the brand in the business customer sector, while keeping the development, production and marketing of the successors to the current 6.1 model range for private use (Multivan, Caravelle and California) in-house. 

Finally, a highly differentiated Ford electric vehicle for Europe will be built on Volkswagen‘s Modular Electric Drive (MEB) Toolkit, expanding on Ford‘s zero-emission capabilities in the region by 2023. Contracts on cooperation in the area of development of autonomous driving were also signed and Volkswagen Group subsidiary AID incorporated into ARGO AI. The basis has been created for a company aimed at the development of autonomous driving that will operate on a global scale. Both partners will in future be able to use the software and the self-driving system in their own bespoke ways. In 2022 VWCV will deploy a self-driving vehicle fleet in real conditions for the first time.

“Commercial vehicles are fundamental to Ford today and an area where we will accelerate and grow, and working with Volkswagen on these platforms will provide both of us significant financial advantages in things like engineering, and plants and tooling,” said Jim Farley, Ford chief operating officer. “Separately, Ford will add battery electric versions of the Transit and F-150 in the next 24 months for commercial customers who increasingly need zero emissions and the power of connectivity, data and artificial intelligence.”

Thomas Sedran, chairman of the board of management VWCV, said: “This long-term cooperation with Ford will strengthen our very good position in the area of light commercial vehicles, especially in our core European markets, and is proof that we are successfully implementing our plan step by step.”

During the lifecycles of the products, the companies expect to produce up to a combined 8 million of the medium pickup truck and both commercial vans included in the commercial relationships.

The cooperation between Volkswagen and Ford is in no way a merger and all vehicles are being marketed independently of each other, with the two companies remaining competitors in the marketplace.