Ford And VW Said To Be Far Apart On EV Strategy

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Last month Ford and VW announced a new pick-up truck and van partnership. The goal of the partnership is to cut costs from commercial vehicle production and boost pre-tax profit margins. Additionally, Ford and VW signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on autonomous vehicles, connected mobility services, and electric vehicles. Now, one month later, it seems as if this memorandum of understanding is a thin one.

The partnership between Ford and VW seemed very promising for the two automakers, but now it may subject to a write-down, as Ford executives are raising doubts about teaming with VW to build electric vehicles. The two companies are taking nearly opposite approaches when it comes to their electrification programs. Analysts have pointed to differences in strategies, and other nuances such as rollout cadences and timing issues.

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Volkswagen AG has committed over $50 billion to develop more than 50 pure battery-electric vehicles by 2025 according to CNBC. The EVs would be sold as various car brands, including profit-happy Porsche and Audi, and of course, Volkswagen. The majority of the developing EVs will target mainstream markets using a high-volume modular vehicle platform known as MEB. VW is primarily concerned with low-cost, passenger car segments with its battery-car program, which differs from Ford’s philosophy.

“Ford’s bet is on commercial vehicles and performance vehicles,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s president of global markets. Ford was an early proponent of electrification but has shifted the focus towards hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and relatively short-range battery-electric vehicles. Ford plans to introduce a hybridized Mustang in 2020,  and we’ve also seen spy shots of an electric Ford F-150. Ford has extensive plans to expand their EV lineup in the coming decade.

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Written by Austin Rexinger

Austin is an automotive enthusiast from Buffalo, NY with a passion for speed. When Austin isn't writing about the auto industry you can find him racing go-karts, competing in time attack events, or autocrossing his 2017 Toyota 86—with a manual transmission, of course!

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3 Comments

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  1. Can’t make progress when you’re half-hearted about it Ford. The industry AND consumers are moving towards EVs. Get on the bandwagon, get on it early. Automotive brand loyalty is less important to the current generation of vehicle owners. They’ll move on if you don’t move forward.

  2. Ford is in a unique position right now and if they do this right, Ford could seriously have a game winning strategy on their hands. From my perspective (and these are simply just my opinions) I am all for electric vehicles (not so much autonomous) but electric vehicles. Ford could have all-electric powertrains for Buses, parcel vehicles, police vehicles, first responder and paramedic vehicles, military vehicles, fleet vehicles and certain agricultural vehicles. Ford could also do something similar to Tesla and spread their business to non-car things such as home and commercial solar energy, Mobility Scooters, E-bikes and even some of their “ford home” items such as the baby crib (which i think is a good idea) that ford bed (cool concept, needs work) and several other things. Although Ford seems to have a plan for normal electric vehicles in the near future (which is good) If i were ford, I would have my own division of E-vehicles and not so much try to turn current vehicles into E-Vehicles. Ford wants to challenge Tesla in the electric car markets (as do a few other people) and i don’t feel that it would be a super hard project to do. The only thing would be to make the interior feel more like a car and less like an appliance like Tesla currently has. Ford would need five vehicles in their E-lineup (a Lifestyle truck, a midsize SUV, a small SUV, a sport crossover, a compact urban sedan and a sport sedan).
    As to this whole thing with Ford discontinuing all of it’s sedan in the next few year, my opinion is that it may not be the best strategy. Now if Ford were to say it was going to discontinue all of it’s current car lineup except the Mustang and produced a new lineup, that would be a better strategy, again, in my opinion. People have said about how the sedan sales have declined due to crossover sales. I say sedan sales have decline because no one (besides Dodge) has really made a decent sedan that is not boring. Ford’s Taurus SHO was probably one of the last Decent sedans that came from Ford but it left a lot to be desired being that it was based on the FWD platform. Ford has just introduced the new Modular CD6 platform which can handle FWD, RWD and AWD applications and it has received good reviews in the new Explorer/Aviator and the new Mustang S650 will be on the same platform. Ford also has two good engine categories going on, the ecoboost engines and the Coyote engine which included the Voodoo-class V8 and the Predator Class V8. Now, as it has recently been made aware to me that GM just put a 4.5L twin turbo V8 in the new CTS-V pushing 550hp/627lb-ft torque with a larger 5.5L DOHC twin turbo V8 on the way. The outgoing ATS-V had a twin turbo 3.6L that put out 465hp/445tq. Here is my question, what if Ford took the 2.3L Ecoboost from the Focus RS 350hp/350tq, change it up to a cross plane crank inline 4 (like the Yamaha R1), mate that to the 10-speed hybrid driveline (the same one that bumps the Aviator to 450hp/600lb-ft of torque from 400hp/400tq) which would give this car 400hp/550lb-ft of torque and mate that to the new hybrid AWD system as the base model car. A step up from that would be the Raptor spec 3.5L Ecoboost V6 with 450hp/510lb ft of torque with a hybrid all wheel drive system, the 10-speed auto or optional 7-speed DCT, a step above that would be the first ever Ecoboost V8. a 4.7L V8 twin turbo engine with a 10-speed transmission pushing around the same numbers as the black wing at 550hp/625tq with the 10-speed auto or optional 7spd DCT and optional hybrid AWD system. The new 4.7L V8 would take technology from the GT500 engine and the ecoboost program and merge them together in the new car lineup. The Mustang would receive all of this as the coupe in Ford’s lineup but a Gran-Coupe needs to step above this with the Next-gen mustang like styling similar to what BMW did with the M850i and M850i Gran Coupe, the next step above that would be a high performance Cayenne sized mustang inspired crossover will the three engines listed above and drivetrains and at the top of this list would be the Explorer with all of the same engines and drivetrains which would round out the lineup of CD6 platform vehicles that Ford. As far as the mustang, I would love to see the GT350/GT500 get retired with the 6th gen mustang completely and the new Mustangs go back to the Cobra with a 5.0L Flat Plane Crank twin turbo Ecoboost V8, 10-speed auto/7-speed DCT option AWD setup with over 700hp. Another thing Ford could do that would be nice is to get rid of the Ecosport, the Escape and the Edge from the lineup and have the “Baby Bronco”, the Everest, the Bronco and the Expedition as their more commuter oriented SUVs. All four of these vehicles would be rear wheel drive based with the 10-speed auto or 10-speed hybrid transmissions with actual mechanical AWD setups minus the “Baby Bronco.” The Baby Bronco would be the unique one of the bunch, sporting a 2.0L Ecoboost engine with the Hybrid 10-speed behind it pushing the power up to 302hp and torque all the way up to 470lb-ft of torque. The Hybrid AWD system would be present on this vehicle as well and would be the only on of this SUV family to receive it. The Everest and the Bronco would be based on the next generation Ford Ranger platform being equipped with a base 350hp/350lb-ft torque 2.3L with an optional 3.0L 400hp/400tq V6 along with a 3.0L Diesel V6. The Expedition, being based on the F-150 platform, would receive new drivetrain equipment from the F150, including a 3.0L base V6 pushing out 400hp/400tq, the 3.5L Ecoboost V6 pushing out 450hp/510tq, a 3.0L diesel V6 and a 4.7L V8 in a performance trim (similar to what AMG has with the G-Series SUV. The F150 is scheduled to receive updates in the near future which would be a good time to update and revise the engine lineup as well. the 5.0L would drop from the F150 lineup with the 450hp/510lb-ft 3.5L ecoboost taking its place and the 2.7L V6 being dropped in favor of the 3.0L twin turbo 400hp/400tq V6 along with a revised 3.0L Diesel. While these engines would make up the bulk of the F150 drivetrain with the 10-speed auto (minus the 3.0L diesel which would get a diesel specific trans) It is time for the performance pickups to make their way back to the fold, a Tremor, a Lightning, a Harley Davidson and a Raptor all need to jump back into the mix. The Tremor would take the 3.5L Ecoboost and bump power up to 495hp and 550tq, The Lightning and the Harley Davidson would take the 4.7L Ecoboost V8 with the same amount of power as the cars would have but where the Lightning would retake its throne as a ultra high performance pickup, yet this time not just a one trick pony, the Harley would take a lot of styling cues from bikes such as the Fat Bob and the FXDR114 and the CVO lineup, in a gritty & rugged meets smooth and sophisticated with a bike themed leather interior Dark trim, and black and machined engine covers that mimic the look of the Milwaukee-8 engine. quad exhaust tips exiting from behind the rear wheels, special tombstone taillights, a hard 1pc bed cover and privacy glass windows would all go into the custom package for this truck. The Raptor would finally go back to a V8 with a more classic style setup and that would be a supercharged 600hp 5.0L V8 to do battle with the upcoming Rebel TRX. The F250 would bring back the Highboy to fight the new Power Wagon with it’s own 500hp 1000tq Powerstroke V8 setup geared for off road and that would complete the Ford Lineup. With this setup, you have smaller, yet still powerful and highly efficient powertrains that will yield better fuel economy while satisfying the performance customer base which is still alive a doing well. Not to mention it removes all of the problematic front wheel drive based drivetrains with more efficient rear wheel drive based modern automatic transmissions or dual clutch units and the hybrid front drive engine setups will an easier setup to work on and repair. Ford is slowly repairing Lincoln and moving the Continental and the Aviator to the CD6 platform as well as Mark-Ten coupe and a Zephyr quad coupe luxury grand touring vehicle. I would take the Zephyr and put it on the CD6 platform with all wheel drive and drop the Ford GT spec 3.5L V6 twin turbo 647hp/550tq engine with a standard 10-speed auto or a 7-speed DCT on the black label GT package which would equip the car with a more luxury Grand Touring package with suspension upgrades, bigger brakes, lightweight ultra high performance wheels, improved aerodynamics, dark trim, and several other things. The Aviator would also benefit from a Black Label GT-R package with the same type of setup making it an American Range Rover SVR. The Navigator needs a 4.7L Ecoboost V8 as well to turn up the heat on vehicles like the Escalade and other large luxury SUVs. With nothing larger than a 5.0L V8 and having multiple vehicles with Hybrid drivetrains in 4-cylinder, 6-cylinder and 8-cylinder configurations, Ford would have one of the most efficient lineups out there. Not to mention one of the best selling and most exciting lineups. While also having enough room for their fully electric lineup to flourish.
    Now, where does this leave VW? VW is trying to develop a Ranger sized truck and a few electric vehicles to add to it’s collection along with a sub-ranger sized pickup style vehicle plus VW is in hot water with their diesels (something Ford is not). While VW will more than likely receive things for their normal cars, such as maybe bits and pieces from the design of the Focus ST and RS for the VW Golf R, possibly some of the FWD DCT stuff and several other bits and pieces, Ford Gets access to some of Porsche & Audi technology which may produce some different Ford engines possibly even a smaller 4.0L V8 for some of Ford’s Trucks. Imagine a Porsche 4.0L influenced V8 ecoboost twin turbo engine in a Ranger Wild Trek ubran street truck pushing about 450hp and 460lb-ft of torque, or a VW Arteon with a 2.3L Ecoboost derived turbo-4 with a 9-speed DCT and a Focus RS/Quattro collaborated drivetrain. There are all kinds of ways this collaboration could go and it reaches far beyond just simple electrification.
    The only other thing i could really think could benefit Ford would be to restructure their global strategy, focusing harder on the homefront so this way Ford would take over Honda as the #1 export. Reducing foreign products imported and exported to and from the United States and replacing them with more American products would help the American economy and help American business including the American Auto industry.

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