Business Technology

Tuesday 19 March 2019

Ford in VW talks as it steers for '100 more years' and e-cars

Ford Motor's executive chairman has said his firm and Volkswagen, which have been in talks to team up on electric and autonomous vehicles, make for good partners because they each recognise the extent of the challenges ahead (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Ford Motor's executive chairman has said his firm and Volkswagen, which have been in talks to team up on electric and autonomous vehicles, make for good partners because they each recognise the extent of the challenges ahead (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Keith Naughton

Ford Motor's executive chairman has said his firm and Volkswagen, which have been in talks to team up on electric and autonomous vehicles, make for good partners because they each recognise the extent of the challenges ahead. "We fit together geographically really well, product line-wise, we fit together well," Bill Ford, the great-grandson of founder Henry Ford, said at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston. "We both came to the same realisation that as big as our balance sheets are, no company can do this alone."

Talks between Ford and VW are still at an early stage, Ford said, but there's been promising progress made in building on the partnership the two companies solidified in January to jointly produce commercial vehicles.

The US and German carmakers have established a framework for VW to invest in Ford's autonomous vehicle partner Argo AI, people familiar with the negotiations have said. The companies also are considering joining forces on electric cars."We're really in the early days of exploring what the possibilities could be," Ford said.

"We have some clear ideas of where we want to go with it and they do, too."

Such a deal could help position Ford for a future where electric and self-driving cars will help address problems including urban congestion and pollution, Ford said.

He added he's attempting to re-position the 115-year-old company for the dramatic changes that are coming, which could include selling fewer cars and developing new forms of mobility such as electric scooters.

"I'd like Ford to be around another 100 years, and if that's going to happen, it's clear that we really have to branch off into new directions to try to solve some of these problems," Ford said.

"It's hard because our current business model is providing all the earnings and cash flow that fund a lot of this change. So we have to do both really well.

Bloomberg

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