Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen are reportedly discussing collaborating on self-driving cars and producing certain vehicles for one another to cut costs and bolster profitability, Bloomberg reports. Partnering on autonomous vehicles could prove especially beneficial in terms of savings, anonymous sources have told Bloomberg; the technology is hugely expensive to develop, without yet generating any income.
VW and Ford earlier in the year announced that they’d signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding collaboration in certain segments, including commercial vehicles. Since then, rumors have arisen that a broader partnership – or even possibly a merger – could be in the works, although there’s little in the way of evidence.
But independently of Bloomberg‘s sources, Ford Motor Company CFO Bob Shanks told the outlet that “collaboration isn’t being limited in any way whatsoever, whether it’s different types of technology, product segments or geography. We’re having a very broad set of discussions about how we can help each other around the world.”
A potential tie-up between Ford and Volkswagen is seen by many pundits to be a compelling proposition. “We have a history with VW,” Shanks says. “We get along with them. And if you look at the strengths and weaknesses of each of us, we match up really, really well.”
For instance, Ford has found itself again incurring losses in the European market, and continuing to falter in South America, while VW has some strength in both regions. At the same time, Ford’s commercial vehicles business is on top in Europe, and the automaker’s high-margin F-Series is the best-selling vehicle in the U.S., where VW currently sells no trucks.
“In the world we’re in, where the future is so ill-defined because it’s yet to be created, companies are going to have to collaborate more together,” Shanks says.