Volkswagen invests US$2.6b in Ford self-drive auto ventureBusiness | 12 Jul 2019 8:25 pm
Volkswagen will sink US$2.6 billion into a Pittsburgh autonomous vehicle company that’s mostly owned by Ford as part of a broader partnership with the U.S. No. 2 automaker, according to a person briefed on the matter.
In e-mobility and autonomous driving, the two manufacturers expect synergy effects, a statement said. For example, Ford intends to produce its electric models on the basis of the modular electric drive matrix (MEB) developed by Volkswagen. This will enable the US carmaker to offer at least one pure battery electric vehicle in large numbers in Europe from 2023. Access to the e-architecture already scaled-up by Volkswagen will enable Ford to expand its vehicle portfolio even more efficiently.
In addition, Volkswagen Group intends to acquire a stake in the Ford subsidiary Argo AI to further advance the technology for autonomous driving in the US and Europe. Volkswagen and Ford intend to use Argo AI's Self Driving System (SDS) in their own vehicles independently of each other to expand the two companies’ respective mobility services. Argo AI's SDS is designed to offer fully automated driving according to SAE Level 4 and to open up new possibilities for fully automated vehicles, especially for ride sharing and delivery services, the statement said.
The VW investment includes US$1 billion in cash and the US$1.6 billion value of VW’s autonomous intelligent driving company. Ford already has committed to putting US$1 billion into Argo, which the person says is now valued at US$7 billion.
Also under the deal, Ford will use VW’s new modular electric vehicle underpinnings to build zero-emissions vehicles for the European market, according to another person briefed on the matter who also didn’t want to be identified ahead of the official announcement.-AP/The Standard