US automaker Ford and Germany's Volkswagen have been in talks for a partnership since the summer of 2018 Photo: AFP/File

Ford, VW planning auto partnership announcement: source


Ford and Volkswagen are preparing to announce a strategic partnership, including in areas such as self-driving and electric autos, a person with knowledge of the matter told AFP.

The announcement could come Tuesday during this year's Detroit auto show, the person said.

The organizers of the auto showcase have set aside a time slot on the main stage that day between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. for an industry announcement but have given no further details.

The two automakers have been in talks for a partnership since the summer but have said little about the form it might take.

Volkswagen has made no secret of its interest in Ford's utility vehicles but the person speaking to AFP said the partnership also would involve self-driving and electric autos.

"Our memorandum of understanding with VW covers conversations about potential collaborations across a number of areas," Ford spokeswoman Jennifer Flake said. "It is premature to share additional details at this time. We look forward to sharing an update soon."

Such a major partnership would come as large automakers are facing higher costs for steel and aluminum as a result of U.S. trade tariffs. They are also under mounting pressure to adapt to competition from Silicon Valley.

Development costs also are rising as the automakers race to bring autonomous vehicles to market ahead of Uber, Waymo and Tesla, among others.

Ford recently announced a vast restructuring, phasing out production of almost all sedans and compacts in North America and cutting its global workforce, which analysts say could idle factories.

Volkswagen meanwhile is working to move past the damaging "Dieselgate" emissions-cheating scandal, which eroded profits and tarnished the company's reputation.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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