By Jan Schwartz
HANOVER (Reuters) – Volkswagen has signed a deal to develop a pickup truck with U.S. rival Ford and continues discussions about extending its alliance to include autonomous driving and mobility services, the German carmaker said on Thursday.
In June 2018 VW and Ford revealed they were in talks to jointly develop a range of commercial vehicles and later extended talks to include electric and autonomous cars as part of an alliance designed to save billions in costs.
“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,” Volkswagen’s commercial vehicles chief executive Thomas Sedran said on Thursday.
The talks will come to a conclusion in the coming months, Sedran said.
Ford bought Argo AI, a Pittsburgh-based self-driving startup, in 2017 but development costs for autonomous cars have spiralled in recent years, leading several carmakers to seek alliances and outside investors.
VW said it had signed a contract with Ford to develop a successor to its VW Amarok pickup truck. Ford has a platform for its Ranger midsized pickup truck, which could help VW lower development costs.
(Reporting by Jan Schwartz; Writing by Edward Taylor; Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Michelle Martin)