In a written statement, Bryan Salesky, CEO of Argo AI, said the investment from VW, joining Ford, will give his company a competitive advantage in attracting talent.
“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,” Salesky said in the statement.
Hackett and Diess, in statements distributed before Friday’s briefing, emphasized the benefits and synergies the additional scale of working together on expensive EV and AV technologies can bring.
Hackett said that while VW and Ford 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. 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.”
Diess said that adding Ford to its ambitious global EV plans will drive down development costs further, and make EVs more affordable. With Friday’s announcement, Ford becomes the first global automaker to agree to license VW’s MEB toolkit.
“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 in the statement. “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 automakers’ previous collaborations in midsize pickups and commercial vans will proceed apace, with Ford agreeing to source and build a midsize pickup to replace the aging Volkwagen Amarok in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South America and Asia beginning in 2022. Of nearly 350 models across its many brands around the world, the Amarok is the only light-duty, body-on-frame vehicle Volkswagen manufactures.
Regarding commercial vans, Ford will design and build a large commercial van for both companies, beginning in 2022, for European customers, while Volkswagen will do the same for a city van for Europe and “other select global markets.”