Hackett and Diess: closer, but not too close

Hackett and Diess: closer, but not too close

Strategic partners Ford and Volkswagen Group are reportedly in disagreement over how much VW should invest in Ford's self-driving vehicle unit, according to Reuters.

The Reuters report said that Ford is seeking at least USD0.5bn and cited anonymous sources 'familiar with the negotiations'.

Last year, Ford announced a reorganisation that created a new consolidated unit: Ford Autonomous Vehicles. It said the new consolidated organisation is charged with accelerating its AV business to capitalise on market opportunities. The company also detailed key organisational changes designed to improve its operational fitness and drive profitable growth.

Ford and VW are already working together in commercial vehicles, but a commitment to deepen their partnership and share high costs in advanced technologies such as autonomous drive was seen as potentially very beneficial to both.

However, VW may prefer to keep the relationship at arm's length and Reuters said that some of the hesitation centres around 'questions about Ford's technology'.

Ford views a commitment to invest large sums as essential if the two are to keep up with large  investments being made in other cooperative ventures.

Last month, the two  companies announced the first formal agreements of broad alliance that will see Ford develop medium pickup trucks for worldwide sale by both automakers, collaboration on vans for Europe and likely partnerships for mobility and electrification.

VW CEO Herbert Diess and Ford CEO Jim Hackett confirmed jointly the companies would develop commercial vans and medium-sized pickups for global markets beginning as early as 2022.

"The alliance will drive significant scale and efficiencies and enable both companies to share investments in vehicle architectures that deliver distinct capabilities and technologies," they said in a statement. That got analysts and investors excited.

However Ford chief Jim Hackett has noted before that it can be a 'delicate dance' when two OEMs and business rivals try to come together to save cost.

See also: COMMENT - It takes two to tango (and to disagree)

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