Two of the world’s biggest carmakers, Ford Motor Company and Germany’s Volkswagen AG, are in discussion to set up a joint venture to develop self-driving cars, and could announce a deal as early as this month, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, quoting people familiar with the issue.
As the legacy automakers clamor for a piece of the future autonomous vehicle market, a potential Ford-VW self-driving car joint venture could rival Silicon Valley car developers such as Tesla and Alphabet’s Waymo.
In June this year, Ford and Volkswagen—whose combined sales account for around a fifth of all new passenger cars sold in the world—said that they are exploring a strategic alliance, including developing a range of commercial vehicles together. The potential alliance would not involve equity arrangements, including cross ownership stakes, the carmakers said in June.
A month later, Ford created in July a separate company, Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, to encompass all aspects of its self-driving vehicle business operations and to accelerate its autonomous vehicles (AV) business.
Now Ford and VW are planning a much wider cooperation than just working together on light commercial vehicles, as they said in June. The two carmakers now want to team up to enter into the electric vehicles (EVs) and self-driving car markets, according to German business daily Handelsblatt, which first reported about the potential Ford-VW venture on Thursday.
According to The Journal’s sources, one option for the new venture could be Volkswagen taking up to 50 percent in Ford’s self-driving cars unit, while another could be setting up a new company that could join the autonomous cars units of the two carmakers. The creation of a new company could make it easier for Ford and VW to share the intellectual property and ownership, as well as to open the newly created firm to more partners, the people familiar with the discussions told The Journal.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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