Volkswagen to contribute $2.6 billion to Ford's autonomous venture

A Ford-VW alliance with Argo could redraw self-driving sector

As for Ford and Volkswagen, Hackett and VW CEO Herbert Diess left the door open to more collaboration between the companies, but they did not say whether there were specific additional partnerships in the works.

The need for cost-sharing partnerships is underlined by the current downturn in vehicle sales and predicted changes to ownership models as new technologies are proven.

"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".

- In April, Ford said it would invest $500 million in electric vehicle startup Rivian to build a Ford vehicle on Rivian's underpinnings.

"Ford will be a more targeted business in Europe, consistent with the company's global redesign", European president Stuart Rowley said in a June statement.

In a news release, the German automaker says it has invested $7 billion into the Modular Electrical Toolkit (MEB) since it started working on the architecture back in 2016.

Ford and VW have announced an investment in an autonomous vehicle platform company, Pittsburgh-based Argo AI, that values the small firm at more than $7 billion.

The automakers could outline more than one agreement.

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With VW, the world's biggest automaker by sales volume previous year, Argo is now aligned with a partner with substantial scale and resources.

The cost of developing self-driving cars keeps going up.

ArgoAI CEO Brian Salesky commented on the company's investments stating: "Thanks to Ford and VW, our technology could reach almost every global market, could applied to multiple vehicle brands a variety of vehicle platforms". Volkswagen's investments over three years will make it an equal partner, and the deal is subject to regulatory approvals.

Argo has been overlooked as Waymo, Alphabet Inc's GOOGL.O self-driving subsidiary, has deployed its robo-vans, and General Motors Co's GM.N Cruise Automation unit has raked in billions of dollars in investments.

Ford will also become the first automaker outside the VW group to use the VW full-electric MEB platform to deliver high-volume, zero-emissions vehicles in Europe starting in 2023.

"Our global alliance is beginning to demonstrate even greater promise, and we are continuing to look at other areas on which we might collaborate", said Diess.

The joint announcement focused more on the autonomous side of things but the two companies are not ignoring the electric auto side of the equation.

According to the executives, the deal will see Volkswagen enable Ford to access its underlying platform to anchor electric vehicles.

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