Earlier this year in June, there was news of a partnership between Ford and Volkswagen regarding shared platforms and vehicle development. While the partnership involved no equity or ownership arrangements, both automotive companies have their respective vehicle segments, and they’ve decided to work together on one thing in particular; commercial vehicles.
While Ford believes that commercial vehicles will make up 90% of their portfolio by 2020 in North America, there is still much potential for growth in Europe. Thomas Sedran was the guy behind Volkswagen Group’s Together - Strategy 2025 road map. He was appointed by former VW CEO, Matthias Müller, as head of group strategy in November 2015 to push for an electric future after VW’s diesel-cheating scandal.
Earlier in September this year, Sedran returned to his executive role, running Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. In an interview with Automotive News, he spoke about how he aims to realize the goals he mapped out when talks began with Ford over a strategic alliance found in the two companies’ commercial vehicle businesses. He said that Ford and Volkswagen are market leaders in Europe in their respective segments, and while they each have 15% of the market, both companies have the right chemistry.
Ford was a logical partner as product cycles would fit well together, each company building alternatively. In terms of passenger cars, neither company is forced to sell by volume. Sedran did say, however, that there are natural advantages to splitting development costs because of this alliance. He won’t rule out anything, but the priority is getting the light commercial vehicle projects up and running. Once that is set, then tackling other strategic issues is on the table. While the VW group is nearly twice the size of Ford, Sedran said that everything is balanced. The two companies will work closely at eye level, and while there will be differences in production numbers, it’s all fair and no one is pulling rank.
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