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Exclusive: VW, Ford to unveil deeper alliance at Detroit auto show - sources

Exclusive: VW, Ford to unveil deeper alliance at Detroit auto show - sources
FILE PHOTO: The cockpit and steering wheel of a Streetscooter WORK XL electric van based on a Ford Transit is pictured at Ford's new production line in Cologne, Germany October 9, 2018. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo -
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Wolfgang Rattay(Reuters)
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By Jan Schwartz and Ben Klayman

HAMBURG/DETROIT (Reuters) - Volkswagen <VOWG_p.DE> and Ford <F.N> will unveil a deeper alliance during the Detroit auto show that goes beyond cooperating in the area of commercial vehicles, two sources familiar with the plan said on Wednesday.

Ford and VW are exploring closer cooperation as trade frictions force carmakers to rethink where they build cars for Europe, the United States and China, and as software companies prepare to launch their own self-driving cars.

“A global alliance is expected to be announced,” one source said, adding that the pact will be unveiled next Tuesday.

The scope of the alliance is still being determined, the sources said, as talks about cooperation in the area of electric and autonomous cars continue.

"Talks are going well," said a second source, who declined to be named. Volkswagen is reviewing whether to invest in Ford's autonomous vehicles division while Ford executives are considering licensing Volkswagen's MEB electric vehicles platform, the second source said.

Ford and VW had no immediate comment.

In June, Ford and VW unveiled a pact in commercial vehicles including vans, adding that they were investigating "several joint projects".

In December, VW CEO Herbert Diess said "We are in quite advanced negotiations and dialog with Ford Corporation to really build up a global automotive alliance, which also would strengthen the American automotive industry."

At the time, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr told reporters that talks with Volkswagen about an alliance were going "very well"

The auto show runs from January 14 to January 27.

(Reporting by Jan Schwartz in Hamburg and Ben Klayman in Detroit; Writing by Edward Taylor; Editing by Joe White, Georgina Prodhan and Elaine Hardcastle)

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