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Ford, VW reveal joint plan to build autonomous, electric vehicles

By
Nicholas Sakelaris
Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess announced a partnership with Ford Tuesday to develop vehicles of the future. Photo by Molly Riley/UPI
Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess announced a partnership with Ford Tuesday to develop vehicles of the future. Photo by Molly Riley/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Ford and Volkswagen will partner to develop autonomous and electric vehicles, the automakers announced at the Detroit Auto Show Tuesday.

A partnership has been in the works for months. In addition to working on self-driving and electric vehicles, the automakers will also produce new vans and trucks in about four years, they said. They will also explore other mobility solutions.

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"Over time, this alliance will help both companies create value and meet the needs of our customers and society," Ford CEO Jim Hackett said in a joint statement. "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."

The alliance does not mean the two companies will have cross-ownership, but they will be governed by a joint committee led by Hackett and Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess.

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"You can't do this alone," Hackett said at a joint appearance with Diess at the show Tuesday. "All these efforts will be enhanced by sharing brainpower."

"Volkswagen and Ford will harness our collective resources, innovation capabilities and complementary market positions to even better serve millions of customers around the world," he added. "At the same time, the alliance will be a cornerstone for our drive to improve competitiveness."

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The companies said they aim to meet growing demand for medium-size pickups and commercial vans in the next five years. Ford will engineer and build the trucks for both companies as early as 2022, and both automakers will build the vans for European customers.

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The two companies first eyed a partnership as a way to help Ford into the electric vehicle market. Volkswagen plans to develop 27 electric models across its brands, which also include Audi, Skoda and Seat.

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