Since Volkswagen and Ford announced a new partnership back in the summer, there have been rumors flying around if it could expand into other areas. The two said it would primarily focus commercial vehicles, but they were open to other opportunities. As we reported last week, the two are discussing the possibility of expanding into autonomous tech and electric vehicles.
Recently, Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess gave an interview to Automotive News. He reiterated that the focus of the partnership is for commercial vehicles, but could expand.
“There’s nothing signed yet with Ford. We are in talks. Most of the talks have been centered around our light-duty vehicles — our small commercial vehicles business in Europe, where we found huge synergies. We are both relatively small in size against our peers, so what we’re talking about is sharing a few platforms and manufacturing sites there, which makes sense. And within the dialogue, we are also touching other options, but this will be the main focus if we come to a conclusion,” said Diess.
One example Diess brought up is using the Ford Ranger as a replacement for the Volkswagen Amarok. The current truck has been on sale since 2010 with a range of diesel engines to compete against the likes of the Ranger, Toyota HiLux, and Nissan Navara. Developing a new model would cost a fair amount of cash that Volkswagen would like to use elsewhere. This is where Ford could in and allow Volkswagen to use the Ranger as a basis for a next-generation Amarok. This may allow Volkswagen to sell the Amarok in the U.S. Of course, there is also the Atlas Tanoak concept shown at the New York Auto Show earlier this year that Volkswagen is considering sending into production.
“If the Ford relationship works out well, we would have an Amarok successor, which would be then appropriate for sales worldwide — potentially as well for the United States. The other option is a unibody pickup, which is something for America, which is probably still a bit risky,” said Diess.
This is one of many decision that Volkswagen might make in the near future. Another is allowing Ford to use their MEB toolkit for electric vehicles.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)