Volkswagen and Ford strengthen ties by teaming up on electric and self-driving cars

Two of the worlds biggest car makers, Volkswagen and Ford, have moved their existing commercial partnership up a gear this afternoon to collaborate on electric cars and self-driving cars.

Read more: Ford gears up to announce up to 550 job losses for UK office workers amid turnaround efforts

The firms are looking to pull ahead of the global auto industry in commercialising both technologies.

Volkswagen will pour $2.6bn (£2.07bn) into Argo AI, a driverless tech startup which Ford already backs. The deal will value the startup at $7bn, and will enable Volkswagen to test self-driving cars on European tarmac.

Meanwhile, Ford will use Volkswagens electric car production system to produce a mass market electric model in the US. Volkswagen spent around $7bn developing the system, in the hope it could sell it to rivals.

Research savings

Both companies said they would share the considerable research and development costs associated with commercialising the technologies.

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said the Argo AI partnership would help the firms “share significant research and development costs, in the high triple digit millions”.

He added Volkswagen would release a vehicle using Argo systems “in the early 2020s”.

Ford chief executive Jim Hackett said: “While Ford and Volkswagen remain independent and fiercely competitive in the marketplace, teaming up with Argo AI on this important technology allows us to deliver unmatched capability, scale and geographic reach.”

VW boss Herbert Diess (Getty Images)

Race to the top

Tesla has been the first high-profile car maker to commercialise electric cars and self-driving tech on the roads. However, traditional automotive giants are hot on its heels.

Hackett said: “If the tech revolution has taught us anything, its this: There are only going to be a few winners who create the platforms for the future.”

Furthermore, it is “not about being first, its about being the best,” he added.

The deal makes Argo AI “the largest platform working on this anywherRead More – Source