Ford and Volkswagen have announced that they will work together on the development of a new range of commercial vehicles.
Two of the biggest names in the automotive industry have confirmed they are exploring a ‘strategic alliance’ that is hoped to help both ‘better serve the evolving needs of customers’.
Although the partnership is unlikely to be limited to commercial vehicles, this is the first project being explored, according to the joint statement released by the pair. However, neither has revealed the precise details of the developments they are, or could be, working on.
The two brands currently dominate the best-seller chart in the UK new van market, with four out of the top five spaces in the best-sellers list taken by a Ford or VW product. The Transit Custom is the UK’s most popular van, followed by the Transit, the VW Transporter and the Transit Connect. The Peugeot Partner completes the top five.
The joint statement has confirmed that the partnership will be limited to research and development for now, with the two giants saying they have no plans to take any ownership stakes in one another.
“Ford is committed to improving our fitness as a business and leveraging adaptive business models – which include working with partners to improve our effectiveness and efficiency,” said
Jim Farley, Ford’s president of global markets.
“We look forward to exploring with the VW team in the days ahead how we might work together to better serve the evolving needs of commercial vehicle customers – and much more.”
Dr. Thomas Sedran, head of Volkswagen Group strategy added: “Markets and customer demand are changing at an incredible speed. Both companies have strong and complementary positions in different commercial vehicle segments already. To adapt to the challenging environment, it is of utmost importance to gain flexibility through alliances.”
Volkswagen doesn’t have any commercial vehicle partnerships, but owns the MAN brand, meaning the TGE large van is essentially a rebadged Volkswagen Crafter. Ford’s vans don’t currently sit on any platforms shared with other manufacturers. Partnerships and alliances are common in the van market, though, such as the Renault Trafic, Vauxhall Vivaro, Nissan NV300 and Fiat Talento all sharing many common parts.