It might not be a surprise to hear that automakers sometimes collaborate on projects. Ford has worked with Mazda in the past. That is where the Ranger and Mazda B-Series trucks of the 1980s and 1990s came from. Also, Volkswagen has collaborated with Audi. For example, the Jetta and the A4 share many underpinnings. But, are Ford and Volkswagen teaming up now on pickups and vans?
A press release in January of 2019 pointed to Ford and Volkswagen working together on projects. At first, it was for commercial vehicles. Then, in July, another announcement added that the automakers were working together on electrification. Now, there is another press release.
According to a Reuter’s post on Wednesday,
“The automakers will collaborate on a city van built by Volkswagen, a 1-ton cargo van developed by Ford, and a Volkswagen medium pickup built on the Ford Ranger platform, beginning 2022.”
According to Motor1,
“…Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, chairman Thomas Sedran, made an important disclosure: “Ultimately it is our customers who will benefit [from the joint venture], as without the cooperation we would not have developed a new Amarok.”
The two automakers will be working toward eight million units together in this collaboration. That’s not a small project.
The Volkswagen Amarok pickup truck
The Amarok is a Volkswagen pickup that is not available in the United States. Plans to bring it here were stalled. Now it seems that the Amarok will continue production thanks to the Ford Ranger platform. Also, given the Ranger’s availability, the Amarok might consequently become available in the United States as well, adding a new revenue stream for Volkswagen’s lineup.
The Ford Transit Connect
The arrangement works both ways. Ford’s Transit Connect is a small van that was launched in the United States with a marketing campaign touting it as the perfect delivery vehicle for diverse commercial businesses. But, it has not been stellar in sales. The new arrangement with Volkswagen, however, will see a city van come to fruition from their Caddy platform. Whether Ford keeps the Transit Connect name are introduces a new one remains to be seen.
The Ford Transit
Meanwhile, the full-size Ford Transit van mechanicals will be shared with Volkswagen. This will give Volkswagen entry into commercial vehicle territory it has struggled with – big vans. It will also lower production costs for Ford as it will be spreading the costs over increased production volume.
The Ford and Volkswagen courtship?
All these partnering and product sharing arrangements have led some to speculate that the two companies are taking baby steps toward each other as an exploration of a possible future merger. There is no doubt that the synergies between the companies have been increasing over the last couple of years. But, this scratching of each other’s backs will only work if it turns out to be a profitable relationship. Only time will tell.
The new Ranger is expected in 2022. So, between now and then, Ford and Volkswagen have a lot of work to do to see if future arrangements are even feasible. For now, Ford and Volkswagen will start a theoretical dating relationship while working on pickups and vans together.