It’s a new world across all industries, as companies grapple with changing consumer tastes, ever-shifting market conditions and new technological developments.
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Of course, the automotive industry is no different, as automakers strive to adapt to the electric vehicle (EV) wave while simultaneously keeping an ear to the ground when it comes to what their customers want.
For Ford Motor Co., adapting meant ditching its lineup of sedans in the North American market, instead focusing on its popular SUVs and pickup trucks.
Other types of adaptation to a changing business world include simply partnering up with an industry colleague and pooling resources, if you will.
In that vein, this week Ford announced a partnership with Volkswagen, which it called “the first formal agreements in a broad alliance that positions the companies to boost competitiveness and better serve customers in an era of rapid change in the industry.”
According to the company announcement, the automakers plan to collaborate on production of commercial vans and medium-sized pickups for the global market as early as 2022. The alliance between the two companies will be led by a joint committee, which will include Ford CEO Jim Hackett, Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess and other senior executives from the two companies.
“Over time, this alliance will help both companies create value and meet the needs of our customers and society,” Hackett said. “It will not only drive significant efficiencies and help both companies improve their fitness, but also gives us the opportunity to collaborate on shaping the next era of mobility.”
In addition to collaboration on vans and trucks, the automakers could work together on electric vehicles.
“In addition, Volkswagen and Ford have signed a memorandum of understanding to investigate collaboration on autonomous vehicles, mobility services and electric vehicles and have started to explore opportunities,” a Ford release stated. “Both companies also said they were open to considering additional vehicle programs in the future. The teams will continue working through details in the coming months.”
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Ford is scheduled to announce its fourth-quarter 2018 and full-year results during a conference call at 4:15 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Jan. 23.
In other news, Volkswagen this week announced it would build its North American electric vehicle manufacturing base in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
“Strengthening the company’s commitment to an electric mobility future, this expansion of Volkswagen’s U.S. footprint will include an investment of $800 million into the Chattanooga facility and create 1,000 jobs at the plant, plus additional jobs at suppliers,” a Volkswagen release stated. “EV production at the site will begin in 2022.”