When ranking unexpected partnerships, seeing American giant Ford and European powerhouse Volkswagen join together in an alliance of arms might have ranked among the top of the list of most unanticipated partnerships not too long ago. However, against the backdrop of a modern automotive landscape that calls for creative solutions and forward-thinking approaches if automakers intend to remain relevant in the face of ride-sharing, mobility-as-a-service (MaaS), and the rise of self-driving technology, this recent union between Ford and Volkswagen is a perfect example of a new industry reality emerging.
So just what do Ford and Volkswagen have in mind for strengthening the ties that bind these two heritage members of the automotive community together? As Peter Campbell and Patti Waldmeir of The Financial Times explain, Ford intends to help Volkswagen break into the world's largest pickup truck market (the U.S.) via assistance with the manufacturing of these vehicles in its current production facilities. In return, Volkswagen is open to the idea of helping this carmaker break into the electric vehicle scene via its production plant in Tennessee.
In other words, this union allows for both automakers to leverage their strengths to help each other make up ground in areas of the industry in which they have fallen behind current leaders and major players.
Going a step further, Campbell and Waldmeir point out that this venture also allows for both manufacturers to lower costs by tapping into the infrastructure of the other – in addition to potentially paving the way for joint autonomous vehicle testing and development.
Of course, the scope and depth of this partnership hinges entirely on the language of the official deal, which appears to have been in the works for several months now. Even so, it is hard not to imagine that this venture will be successful for both automakers moving forward, or that it could potentially be the tipping point for other carmakers to follow suit.
Will the strategic alliance between Ford and Volkswagen cause other automakers to lean on one another and share their production strengths and resources? How does this new approach to shared resources impact the restructuring of Ford under the leadership of chief executive Jim Hackett?
For answers to these questions, and even more insight, be sure to check in with Campbell, Waldmeir, and the rest of the crew from The Financial Times on the other side of the link offered up down below.