VW in talks to buy stake in Ford’s Argo unit, develop pickup truck

HANNOVER — Volkswagen Group has signed a deal to develop a pickup truck with Ford and may extend its alliance to include autonomous driving and mobility services, the German automaker said.

In January, VW and Ford agreed to develop a range of midsize pickups and commercial vehicles. They also agreed to explore cooperating on electric and autonomous cars as part of a sweeping alliance designed to save each automaker billions in costs.

The successor to the VW Amarok pickup will be the first joint vehicle project with Ford, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles CEO Thomas Sedran said on Thursday. Ford has a platform for its Ranger midsized pickup truck, which could help VW lower development costs. 

Other joint vehicle projects may follow including joint EVs, Sedran said, without elaborating.

Discussions over VW’s investment in Ford’s self-driving unit Argo AI have been ongoing for several weeks. 

“We are in constructive talks about taking a stake in Argo, the Ford division for autonomous driving. A joint company for offering mobility as a service is also a possibility,” Sedran said Thursday.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that VW is preparing to invest $600 million as an equity investment in Argo, with each company owning half of the business. VW would invest $1.1 billion in working capital for the entity’s r&d operations, the report said. 

The talks will come to a conclusion in the coming months, Sedran said.

Ford bought Argo, a Pittsburgh-based self-driving startup, in 2017 but development costs for autonomous cars have spiraled in recent years, leading several carmakers to seek alliances and outside investors.

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