Representatives of both brands announced the cooperation between Volkswagen and Ford last year. Now, after signing the agreement, however, the mutual alliance is getting concrete outlines. And it won’t just focus on commercial vehicles. Ford will build its own personal electric car for the European market on the MEB modular platform.
The electric Ford with Volkswagen technology is to be launched on the market in 2023. Both carmakers assume that the unnamed car can accommodate up to 600,000 people. Exactly as many MEB platforms, Blue Oval wants to buy from VW, along with other related technology.
The electric car has to combine a large interior space with the dynamics of electric motors. Ford also mentions the use of an “attractive name” in the style of the Mach-E Mustang. It will appear in most European markets next year.
Production of the model, which will be developed by Ford’s Cologne design and engineering center, will begin in 2023. According to a press release, the two carmakers will continue to look for other ways to cooperate in the field of electric models.
Let us remind you that deliveries of the first VW electric car on the MEB platform, the compact hatchback ID.3, will start at the beginning of September this year. The upcoming Škoda Enyaq iV will use the same platform. It will be introduced for the first time in the autumn and will go to the market at the beginning of next year.
However, the main part of the agreement between the two manufacturers is cooperation in the field of commercial vehicles. So far, it is to cover a total of three models. Ford will develop and subsequently provide Volkswagen with a medium-sized van with a capacity of one ton and medium-sized pick-up technology, while Volkswagen is in charge of developing a compact city van for Ford.
“In light of the covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the global economy, it is more important than ever to forge alliances between strong companies,” said Volkswagen Herbert Diess, head of cooperation between the two brands.
According to him and Ford’s chief operating officer Jim Farley, the cooperation will reduce development costs and, conversely, strengthen Ford and Volkswagen’s positions in the electric and commercial vehicle markets. In the light commercial vehicle and medium pick-up segment, the alliance is even set to become the market leader.
At the same time, however, both carmakers were not linked through ownership shares. On the contrary, their joint statement contains the suffix that competitors remain on the market.
The first product of mutual cooperation in the field of commercial vehicles will be a compact city van. Volkswagen will provide Ford with the fifth generation of the Caddy, which will become the new Transit Connect next year. Caddy production will begin in Poznan, Poland, in the second half of this year, and sibling Ford will also be on the same line.
In 2022, production of a new generation of Amarok pick-up will begin, which will be based on Ford Ranger technology for a change. Both cars will also be produced at the same Blue Oval plant in South Africa. However, Volkswagen notes that it will not be just a rebranding, Amarok should get a clearly distinguishable face. Only technology will be shared.
The last product of the joint development will be a medium-sized van with a load capacity of one ton, ie in the segment where today Ford Transit Custom and Volkswagen T6.1 operate in the Transporter variant. However, although Ford will be in charge of the development of utility versions, personal variants (especially Multivan) will continue to be directed by Volkswagen.
In total, both brands plan to produce three million models in the life cycle. Jim Farley also announced that in addition to the deal with Volkswagen, Ford will introduce an electric version of the Transit and a large American F-150 pickup in the next two years.
Both carmakers have also independently invested in the American start-up Argo AI, with which they will collaborate on the development of autonomous control technologies. However, Ford and Volkswagen are to continue to develop these technologies separately.
By the way, the upcoming Volkswagen ID.Buzz is to be the first model of the brand to be put into real operation in 2022 with autonomous steering at level 4 out of five possible. This means a high degree of automation and independent driving independently of the driver in a wide range of driving modes.