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https://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/ford/2019/07/10/ford-vw-alliance-autonomous-electric-vehicles/1695632001/

Ford Motor Co. and autonomous-driving software company Argo AI are nearing agreements with Volkswagen AG to partner on electric and self-driving vehicles that would bind two of the world's largest automakers in a transatlantic alliance on two of the most expensive pieces of a rapidly changing global auto industry.

The proposed alliance would also tie VW to Argo as the Pittsburgh-based start-up company's second investor and the second company to use its software to deploy self-driving vehicles. Argo would be able to test and launch in Europe through VW.

If approved by Ford's board this week and Volkswagen's board Thursday, the companies are expected to officially announce the new partnership details Friday. The deal could create one of the largest and most robust alliances on electric and autonomous vehicles seen yet from major automakers; Ford and Volkswagen sold roughly a combined 17 million vehicles globally last year, roughly 21% of the market.

"Both companies get scale, both get savings," said Sam Abuelsamid, an automotive technology analyst for Navigant Research, adding that the partnership indicated VW saw progress in Argo that it likely didn't see in other companies. "If you can start to combine some of that cost and share some of that technology, you can get more volume out of fewer platforms. You have the potential to save an enormous amount of money in development costs."

Two sources with knowledge of the deal said the companies have negotiated for VW to share its MEB electric-vehicle platform with Ford.Meanwhile, VW would get access to Argo's self-driving software and the data and learning Ford and Argo have gathered to-date, along with a minority stake in the start-up, and a seat on Argo's board. Ford currently has a majority stake in Argo and two seats on the board.

Argo would absorb VW's Munich-based Autonomous Intelligent Driving team, called AID, which has acted as an urban autonomous-driving technology supplier for the Volkswagen Group, sources said. Collaboration there would effectively create a new autonomous vehicle powerhouse as Ford, Argo and VW share data, expertise and geographic reach as the auto companies ready to deploy their first autonomous vehicles.

More at link.....
 

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Can't recall a recent story well enough to google it, perhaps someone knows, but there was a local government that insisted people cut their inter-city emissions, so people started taking Uber and Lift rides....which actually increased the miles driven. That same local government will soon demand that ride share is BEV only. No over-reach going on there.
 

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https://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/ford/2019/07/10/ford-vw-alliance-autonomous-electric-vehicles/1695632001/

Ford Motor Co. and autonomous-driving software company Argo AI are nearing agreements with Volkswagen AG to partner on electric and self-driving vehicles that would bind two of the world's largest automakers in a transatlantic alliance on two of the most expensive pieces of a rapidly changing global auto industry.

The proposed alliance would also tie VW to Argo as the Pittsburgh-based start-up company's second investor and the second company to use its software to deploy self-driving vehicles. Argo would be able to test and launch in Europe through VW.

If approved by Ford's board this week and Volkswagen's board Thursday, the companies are expected to officially announce the new partnership details Friday. The deal could create one of the largest and most robust alliances on electric and autonomous vehicles seen yet from major automakers; Ford and Volkswagen sold roughly a combined 17 million vehicles globally last year, roughly 21% of the market.

"Both companies get scale, both get savings," said Sam Abuelsamid, an automotive technology analyst for Navigant Research, adding that the partnership indicated VW saw progress in Argo that it likely didn't see in other companies. "If you can start to combine some of that cost and share some of that technology, you can get more volume out of fewer platforms. You have the potential to save an enormous amount of money in development costs."

Two sources with knowledge of the deal said the companies have negotiated for VW to share its MEB electric-vehicle platform with Ford.Meanwhile, VW would get access to Argo's self-driving software and the data and learning Ford and Argo have gathered to-date, along with a minority stake in the start-up, and a seat on Argo's board. Ford currently has a majority stake in Argo and two seats on the board.

Argo would absorb VW's Munich-based Autonomous Intelligent Driving team, called AID, which has acted as an urban autonomous-driving technology supplier for the Volkswagen Group, sources said. Collaboration there would effectively create a new autonomous vehicle powerhouse as Ford, Argo and VW share data, expertise and geographic reach as the auto companies ready to deploy their first autonomous vehicles.

More at link.....
...at first I was a bit wary of the tie-up, given the outright unethical behavior of VW in many instances, but I think Ford would come out of this deal as the big winner. Access to MEB at almost no cost would be huge.
 

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I am scratching my head as to what Ford has planned while partnering with the likes of Rivian and now VW for BEV platforms, when they have their own that are developed quite well so far. Must be future products that are about 5 years out.
Nope...they will be building cars on top of the VW platform in 3Y or less. Ford is also giving them the truck platform as part of the deal...
 

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Can't recall a recent story well enough to google it, perhaps someone knows, but there was a local government that insisted people cut their inter-city emissions, so people started taking Uber and Lift rides....which actually increased the miles driven. That same local government will soon demand that ride share is BEV only. No over-reach going on there.



Another important issue is where the electricity used by electric cars comes from. Are we really producing a lower carbon footprint, or are we just moving it out of the city? It is even possible that we are increasing the production of CO2, depending on the source from which the electricity is obtained for those EVs. I have even read that the production of the EVs implies higher CO2 production. The only manufacture of the batteries would make this happen like that. So, are the EVs the solution? I think just to clean the air of the cities, but not to lower the carbon footprint ...
 

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...at first I was a bit wary of the tie-up, given the outright unethical behavior of VW in many instances, but I think Ford would come out of this deal as the big winner. Access to MEB at almost no cost would be huge.

The MEB is a simple skate board, with a battery, an electric motor and a charger. I think the MEB will not be better or worse than Ford electric platform, only different. The advantage for Ford and VW is the volume. More units of the same platform produced in the same factory, less cost.

The important issue with this deal is the autonomous conduction part. This is the tech that needs more invest and VW, evidently, has directed all its resources to the production of EVs, leaving the part of autonomous driving in the background. This is where VW takes advantage and Ford can share those high costs.
 

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Nope...they will be building cars on top of the VW platform in 3Y or less. Ford is also giving them the truck platform as part of the deal...
Is that a statement of fact, or a wish. I have not heard anything to back that up, so proof for your hypothesis would be appreciated.
 

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The MEB is a simple skate board, with a battery, an electric motor and a charger. I think the MEB will not be better or worse than Ford electric platform, only different. The advantage for Ford and VW is the volume. More units of the same platform produced in the same factory, less cost.

The important issue with this deal is the autonomous conduction part. This is the tech that needs more invest and VW, evidently, has directed all its resources to the production of EVs, leaving the part of autonomous driving in the background. This is where VW takes advantage and Ford can share those high costs.

Savings through volume is in fact the plan. It's not like there is special technology in a skateboard.
 

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Can't recall a recent story well enough to google it, perhaps someone knows, but there was a local government that insisted people cut their inter-city emissions, so people started taking Uber and Lift rides....which actually increased the miles driven. That same local government will soon demand that ride share is BEV only. No over-reach going on there.



Another important issue is where the electricity used by electric cars comes from. Are we really producing a lower carbon footprint, or are we just moving it out of the city? It is even possible that we are increasing the production of CO2, depending on the source from which the electricity is obtained for those EVs. I have even read that the production of the EVs implies higher CO2 production. The only manufacture of the batteries would make this happen like that. So, are the EVs the solution? I think just to clean the air of the cities, but not to lower the carbon footprint ...
...locally 43% of our power is nuclear, 10% is hydroelectric. Solar is also making a bigger and bigger peak demand supplier (we have the highest demand during clear hot days). Even with EVs coming, our power producer is shuttering two coal plants, which are base level producers, for the recently online nukes. They also said they don’t expect to need any more baseline plants for at least 20 years (efficiency gains + better peak suppliers + demand shifting).
 

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...at first I was a bit wary of the tie-up, given the outright unethical behavior of VW in many instances, but I think Ford would come out of this deal as the big winner. Access to MEB at almost no cost would be huge.

The MEB is a simple skate board, with a battery, an electric motor and a charger. I think the MEB will not be better or worse than Ford electric platform, only different. The advantage for Ford and VW is the volume. More units of the same platform produced in the same factory, less cost.

The important issue with this deal is the autonomous conduction part. This is the tech that needs more invest and VW, evidently, has directed all its resources to the production of EVs, leaving the part of autonomous driving in the background. This is where VW takes advantage and Ford can share those high costs.
...competitive simple skateboards sure have been hard for Audi and Jag to build. MEBs benefit is in the flexibility. VAG has been a front runner in flexible platforms that can underpin multiple top-hats. It will support everything from an urban hatch to a 7 seat CUV (Roomzz). Don’t undersell it.
 

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Nope...they will be building cars on top of the VW platform in 3Y or less. Ford is also giving them the truck platform as part of the deal...
Is that a statement of fact, or a wish. I have not heard anything to back that up, so proof for your hypothesis would be appreciated.
They will also be building VWs and Fords in one undetermined US factory!!

This is going to be interesting 🙂
 

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Nope...they will be building cars on top of the VW platform in 3Y or less. Ford is also giving them the truck platform as part of the deal...
Is that a statement of fact, or a wish. I have not heard anything to back that up, so proof for your hypothesis would be appreciated.
They will also be building VWs and Fords in one undetermined US factory!!

This is going to be interesting 🙂
...I thought VW was already expanding Chattanooga for EVs. They announced an $800m investment this past January for EVs. I don’t think they’ll be ready in the US until 2022, though, so it would probably time out well with Ford getting on board.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Short version:

Volkswagen to join Ford in investing in Argo AI, the autonomous vehicle platform company, at a valuation of more than $7 billion. Tie-up allows both automakers to independently integrate Argo AI’s self-driving system into their own vehicles, delivering significant global scale

Ford will use Volkswagen’s electric vehicle architecture and Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB) to design and build at least one high-volume fully electric vehicle in Europe for European customers starting in 2023, more efficiently advancing its promise to deliver expressive passenger cars while taking advantage of Volkswagen’s scale

Ford and VW on track to develop commercial vans and medium pickups for each brand in select global markets starting in 2022; sharing development costs to generate significant synergies

The Volkswagen-Ford global alliance – which does not involve cross-ownership between the companies – is expected to create annual efficiencies for each company



From Ford Site:

NEW YORK – Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG today announced they are expanding their global alliance to include electric vehicles – and will collaborate with Argo AI to introduce autonomous vehicle technology in the U.S. and Europe – positioning both companies to better serve customers while improving their competitiveness and cost and capital efficiencies.

Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess, Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett as well as Argo AI CEO Bryan Salesky announced Volkswagen is joining Ford in investing in Argo AI, the autonomous vehicle technology platform company.

Working together with Ford and Volkswagen, Argo AI’s self-driving system (SDS) is the first with commercial deployment plans for Europe and the U.S. Plus, being able to tap into both automakers’ global reach, Argo AI’s platform has the largest geographic deployment potential of any autonomous driving technology to date. Volkswagen and Ford independently will integrate Argo AI’s SDS into purpose-built vehicles to support the distinct people and goods movement initiatives of both companies.

Argo AI’s focus remains on delivering a SAE Level 4-capable SDS to be applied for ride sharing and goods delivery services in dense urban areas.

Ford and Volkswagen will have an equal stake in Argo AI, and combined, Volkswagen and Ford will own a substantial majority. The remainder will be used as an incentive pool for Argo AI employees. The full transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and closing conditions.

"While Ford and Volkswagen remain independent and fiercely competitive in the marketplace, teaming up and working with Argo AI on this important technology allows us to deliver unmatched capability, scale and geographic reach,” Hackett said. “Unlocking the synergies across a range of areas allows us to showcase the power of our global alliance in this era of smart vehicles for a smart world.”

Company leaders also announced Ford will become the first additional automaker to use Volkswagen’s dedicated electric vehicle architecture and Modular Electric Toolkit – or MEB – to deliver a high-volume zero-emission vehicle in Europe starting in 2023.

Ford expects to deliver more than 600,000 European vehicles using the MEB architecture over six years, with a second all-new Ford model for European customers under discussion. This supports Ford’s European strategy, which involves continuing to play on its strengths – including commercial vehicles, compelling crossovers and imported iconic vehicles such as Mustang and Explorer.

Volkswagen started developing its MEB architecture in 2016, investing approximately $7 billion in this platform. The car-maker is planning to use this platform to build approximately 15 million cars for the Volkswagen Group alone in the next decade.

For Ford, using Volkswagen’s MEB architecture is part of its more than $11.5 billion investment in electric vehicles worldwide – and supports Ford’s commitment to offer its European customers a broad range of electric vehicles while meeting its sustainability commitments.

“Looking ahead, even more customers and the environment will benefit from Volkswagen’s industry-leading EV architecture. Our global alliance is beginning to demonstrate even greater promise, and we are continuing to look at other areas on which we might collaborate,” Diess said. “Scaling our MEB drives down development costs for zero-emissions vehicles, allowing for a broader and faster global adoption of electric vehicles. This improves the positions of both companies through greater capital efficiency, further growth and improved competitiveness.”

The alliance, which covers collaborations outside of Volkswagen and Ford’s joint investments in Argo AI, does not entail cross-ownership between the two companies and is independent from the investment into Argo AI. The alliance is governed by a joint committee, which is led by Hackett and Diess and includes senior executives from both companies.

The companies also are on track to deliver medium pickup trucks for global customers, aiming to start in 2022, followed by commercial vans.

Equal Shareholders in Argo AI
Volkswagen will invest $2.6 billion in Argo AI by committing $1 billion in funding and contributing its $1.6 billion Autonomous Intelligent Driving (AID) company, which includes more than 200 employees – most of whom have been developing self-driving technology for the Volkswagen Group.

As part of the transaction, Volkswagen also will purchase Argo AI shares from Ford for $500 million over three years. Ford will invest the remaining $600 million of its previously announced $1 billion cash commitment in Argo AI.

The full transaction represents a valuation for Argo AI that totals more than $7 billion.

Both automakers see significant potential, including profitable growth by tapping new business areas tied to autonomous technology.

Argo AI plans to work closely with Ford and Volkswagen to provide the autonomous vehicle technology the automakers need to deliver fully integrated self-driving vehicles that can be manufactured at scale for safe, reliable and durable deployment in ride sharing and goods delivery services.

“Argo AI is fortunate to have a world-class team due to our clear mission and the commitment to deployment from our partners, and together with AID employees, we will have a global workforce to attract even more of the best talent,” said Salesky, co-founder of Argo AI. “Plus, thanks to Ford and Volkswagen, Argo AI technology could one day reach nearly every market in North America and Europe, applied across multiple brands and to a multitude of vehicle architectures.”

Based in Munich, Germany, AID will become Argo AI´s new European headquarters and will be led by AID’s current CEO Karlheinz Wurm. With the addition of AID employees, Argo AI will grow from 500 to over 700 employees globally.

In addition to its global headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pa., the new location marks Argo AI’s first engineering center in Europe and the fifth globally in addition to Dearborn, Mich.; Cranbury, NJ; and Palo Alto, Calif. Collaborating with Ford, Argo AI also is testing its technology in Miami and Washington, D.C., where together they plan deployment of commercial services.
 

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So the main goal here was volume discounts on a big scale.
Using the MEB for a Eu vehicle 2023, makes Dam good sense.
Small to medium trucks and commercial also, for specific markets.
A BEV Ranger makes darn good sense. Let's hope

Thinking about Argo stock.
This mean new Ranger for 2022. And a brother truck for VW.

I’m curious about the luck of the Mach E in Europe. If Ford will make a volume vehicle on VW’s MEB for Europe, this mean te Mach E will not be available un Europe?
 

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This mean new Ranger for 2022. And a brother truck for VW.

I’m curious about the luck of the Mach E in Europe. If Ford will make a volume vehicle on VW’s MEB for Europe, this mean te Mach E will not be available un Europe?
Well, presumably the volume one will be a small vehicle, whereas Mach E will be a bigger, pricier model.
 

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This mean new Ranger for 2022. And a brother truck for VW.

I’m curious about the luck of the Mach E in Europe. If Ford will make a volume vehicle on VW’s MEB for Europe, this mean te Mach E will not be available un Europe?
600,000 units ONLY for Europe, starting in 4 years (2023) and over 6 years. That's just 100k units annually or about 8k units monthly from 2023 - 2028. This looks like a still very late entry into the European EV market with a very low sales plan. Understanding that VW is struggling to lock in enough battery cell supply for their own EV products from several suppliers (only locked in for 2 years so far), this lease on VWs EV technology will NOT include the batteries necessary to run the Ford vehicles. I wonder if the very late production start of a first EV in Europe has much to do with no agreement with a battery supplier until the suppliers expand their production for the potential of being able to buy from a supplier.

The same battery supply issue seems to dictate what Ford offers as an EV in the US as well. A 'Mustang inspired performance SUV' will be at the high end of price and low end of demand, which means less battery cell necessary. So the goal is NOT to offer an EV that would create high volume/demand, since Ford does not have battery capacity to supply the product. This is not by mistake, and has NOTHING to do with EV demand, but Ford dealerships, or ICE manufacturer dealerships tied to dealership associations throughout the US.

It's very simple. Dealerships make over 75% of their revenues from service/maintenance. EV strip out over 75% of the 'required/annual' maintenance/revenue from dealerships, and high volume of low service models will crush ICE dealerships, that are necessary to service the ICE cars and trucks that support ICE manufacturers today. So this slow roll toward EVs is not really about ICE manufacturers not wanted to build the easier/cheaper to design, easier/cheaper to build, easier/cheaper to distribute EVs, but they will put their own dealerships out of business if they rolled out EVs at 10k to 20k monthly in the US. It's just not gonna happen until the dealers deal with the dealer associations state by state.

Direct selling is the future of the automobile and more specifically the EV. Tesla is making that obvious and the industry has recognized it, consumers love it, and the dealer association is still fighting against their own demise. Rivian is next to fight that battle as they plan to sell direct, but unwittingly, contract out service to an ICE dealership. My guess is that it will be Ford dealerships, since the sale won't impact Ford revenues and Ford can get revenue from whatever service they are contracted to offer. VW already delt with this issue in Europe by telling their dealers to get lean, find new revenue streams because service revenue is being dramatically reduced over the next 5 years.

VW is smart....they pushed all their truck and van production onto Ford, while VW focuses on future leadership with EVs. So now they can convert their old ICE manufacturing plants into more efficient EV and battery production facilities. Ford on the other hand is doing what they have always done. They don't lead the industry with the next generation of anything, but sit back and wait for the rest of the industry to build up segments and technologies, and Ford follows years later. But that plan is working less and less each year as the industry moves rapidly forward, while Ford remains focused on the past.

Looking at Argo, using 'dumb' lidar, thei plan is only for commercial use on defined routes, since lidar still has not been able to distinguish a paper bag from a dog from a baby, it's just a small blob moving along the ground, and it can't read a sign, just the shape. So the purpose for the tech is NOT for consumer cars, just a 'potential' for commercial use.

So the winner here is VW, as they get Ford to continue to make the old school ICE trucks and vans for them, while VW leaps forward with BEV trucks, vans, cars and battery production at their own manufacturing plants around the world. Ford gets to 'buy' VW technology in 4 years for 1 low volume EV in Europe only and will further be diminished as a old school ICE truck maker
 

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I think you have it backwards, Bloggin. Ford comes out ahead because electrics are barely profitable to unprofitable at this juncture, while trucks are wildly profitable. Further, because of the physics involved, truck will be the last lineup of vehicles to go full EV. It just takes too big of a pack at this point to economically switch to EV. There will be some small players like Rivian turning out very expensive pseudo-trucks with one-size fits all skateboards, but trucks require a far more modular approach to fit 5.5,6.5 and 8' beds with reg cabs, super cabs, crew cabs and cab only setups. Rivian's platform can't do that.


So, trucks will take a while. Because of that, FORD continues to reap big profits on trucks while it transitions to EV. Further, it reduces costs by spreading costs across a greater number of vehicles because VW wants to use their platforms, increasing their profitability. What strikes me as very interesting is that Ford has essentially said they aren't interested in MEB. Part of me makes me think that Ford may keep a toe in the EU pond to sell trucks and maybe one MEB car, while working on making an exit and focusing on China and the US.
 

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Ford continues to chase a fools errand, and thrust headlong into the rabbit hole of electrification. It is almost as if no one realizes how far ahead Tesla is, and how far away they are from sustained profitability. It is going to take in the magnitude collectively of over 100 BILLION to catch Tesla, and when you do welcome to the world of no ROI because Ford will never be able to ask for Tesla pricing.
 
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