NAIAS 2019: VW chief executive discusses partnership with Ford Motor Company


    DETROIT-- As the North American International Auto Show preview week continues, two major car companies are taking a big step. Dearborn-based Ford Motor Company and Germany's Volkswagen AG have announced a partnership that brings strengths from both together for two purposes-- to better serve customers and make money.

    "Combining resources makes a lot of sense to cope with the changes to come," said Dr. Herbert Diess, chief executive officer of VW, speaking with reporters inside his company's display inside Cobo Center. "We combine, basically, our light commercial vehicle business- mostly in Europe- but also in Latin America, South Africa, it has a worldwide impact."

    The initial focus is medium pickup trucks for those global markets, moving VW's light pickups currently produced for Latin America, to a new level. The target start date is 2022.

    "Combining that with Ford's volume makes a lot of sense. It strengthens both partners and this applies also to the other three car projects which we are discussing and which we have signed contracts now," said Diess.

    RELATED LINK: Learn about Volkswagen AG Chairman and CEO Dr. Herbert Diess

    The other projects include commercial vans. The global alliance is designed to leverage both company's strengths to better compete and serve customers according to a statement from Ford Motor Company.

    "It will not only drive significant efficiencies and help both companies improve their fitness, but also gives us the opportunity to collaborate on shaping the next era of mobility," said Ford chief executive officer Jim Hackett.

    RELATED LINK: Learn about Ford Motor Company CEO Jim Hackett

    Right now, there are no firm commitments to work together on mobility, but executive editor Joe Wiesenfelder believes that would make sense.

    RELATED LINK: Learn about Joe Wiesenfelder and other editorial leaders

    "Anytime manufacturers like this can get together and share resources and share research and development, which is their claimed goal for autonomy, it's going to be good, help them get to market and save money in the process," said Wiesenfelder.

    As the partnership begins, VW and Ford hope to start seeing profits as early as 2023.

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