Ford, VW aim to announce partnership details Tuesday at Detroit auto show

January 09, 2019 12:56 PM UPDATED 17 MINUTES AGO
Ford, VW aim to announce partnership details Tuesday at Detroit auto show
MICHAEL MARTINEZ
mdmartinez@crain.com

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen Group, which for months have discussed a strategic alliance with potential global implications for the auto industry, are likely to provide an update about their joint plans Tuesday at the Detroit auto show, Automotive News has learned.

Discussions are ongoing, and sources with knowledge of the talks caution that the sides could still decide to postpone an announcement.

Ford and VW declined to comment on the possibility of a Tuesday announcement, which was first reported by Reuters.

If the companies go forward with that plan, auto show organizers have reserved an hourlong slot for them Tuesday morning, labeled on the official schedule only as a “pending industry announcement.” Representatives for the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, which runs the show, declined to discuss that event — slated for the convention center’s main stage from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning — or say which company requested that time slot. The event has been listed on the schedule since it was released Dec. 14.

Details of the proposed tie-up are unclear, but the automakers are expected to partner on a number of fronts to reduce costs and streamline operations. Both sides have said any potential deal would not involve a merger, although Ford CFO Bob Shanks has said discussions were not being limited.

The automakers, which have a long history of collaboration, in June signed a memorandum of understanding to explore a strategic alliance across a number of areas, including joint development of commercial vehicles.

The two sides are discussing partnering on autonomous vehicles and on midsize pickups.

Ford reintroduced the Ranger to the U.S. this month, and VW is considering basing its next-generation Amarok off the Ranger, VW CEO Herbert Diess has said.

Diess also said that the German automaker wants to use some U.S. Ford plants with excess capacity to build VW vehicles, although Ford has few options.

Executive Chairman Bill Ford last month said the talks were going “really well,” adding “the culture fit is good.”

Larry P. Vellequette contributed to this report.

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