Ford just announced that the Dearborn-based automaker and Volkswagen have signed an agreement that will see them build an expected 8 million vehicles together along with a new Ford EV based on a VW platform that could top half a million units. Ford also confirmed an electric F-150 and Transit in the next 24 months.
It’ll start as a collaboration on a trio of new commercial vehicles. A new city van that will be created and built by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, a new compact pickup designed and built by Ford and a full-size van that will also be built by Ford.
The city van is going to be based on the latest Volkswagen Caddy. The fourth-generation of Volkswagen’s compact cargo and passenger van – that looks like a Golf van – is expected to enter production later this year based on the VW MQB platform shared with the Golf and countless other VW group models. Ford’s version of this could arrive as early as 2021, the company says, and is likely to replace the Transit Connect in Ford’s lineup.
Replacing Volkswagen’s Amarok, though likely to wear the same badge, will be a new pickup based on the Ford Ranger platform. It’s expected to be on a new Ranger platform that will debut in 2022 and able to accommodate a wide range of modern powertrains. With the pickup market one of the most competitive segments in North America, the VW version may not go on sale here, but the Ranger likely will. And if VW wants to sell it here, much of the necessary regulatory work will likely carry over from Ford.
Third is the van they’re giving the least amount of detail on. Called a “1-ton cargo van”, and given the nod as being created by Ford, this is not the full-size Transit or Volkswagen Crafter vans, but rather a version in the size range between the Transit and Transit connect. Currently, Ford sells the Transit Custom in that range (including the wonderfully-named Transit Custom Nugget camper van) and VW sells the creatively named Transporter (its camper is the California).
The announcement says that during the lifecycles of the three models, the two companies expect to build up to a combined 8 million of the commercial vehicles.
“In light of the Covid 19 pandemic and its impacts on the global economy, more than ever it is vital to set up resilient alliances between strong companies,” said Volkswagen Group CEO Dr Herbert Diess. “This collaboration will efficiently drive down development costs, allowing broader global distribution of electric and commercial vehicles, and enhance the positions of both companies.”
Ford will also build a new EV for Europe on the MEB electric platform that Volkswagen Group debuted under the Audi Q4 e-tron and Volkswagen ID.3, the latter of which is already in production. Ford says that when the vehicle arrives starting in 2023, it could see 600,000 plus units sold. Both automakers will also work through autonomous vehicle business Argo AI to help improve self-driving technology.