DETROIT — As Ford Motor Co. looks to cut costs and improve profit margins with an $11 billion global restructuring, partnership talks with Volkswagen Group were progressing last week.
Executives gave the latest hints as to what that alliance may entail as Ford reported its third-quarter earnings.
"We're having a very broad set of discussions about how we can help each other around the world," CFO Bob Shanks told Bloomberg last week. "Collaboration isn't being limited in any way whatsoever, whether it's different types of technology, product segments or geography."
CEO Jim Hackett, on a conference call with analysts, said the company would talk more about potential partnerships "in the near future." In addition to VW, Ford is working with Mahindra on sharing powertrains and connected-vehicle technologies.
Here's a timeline of news surrounding the talks:
June 19: Ford and VW announced they had signed a memorandum of understanding to explore a "strategic alliance" across a number of areas, including joint development of commercial vehicles. "When we finalize this alliance, you can be assured it will be balanced. There is no junior, nor senior, partner, but rather two companies at eye level that will closely cooperate with one another," Thomas Sedran, CEO of VW's commercial vehicles brand, told Automotive News Europe at VW's headquarters following the announcement.
Sept. 3: A VW-Ford alliance also could include midsize pickups, Automotive News reported. Ford is reintroducing the Ford Ranger to the U.S. early next year, and VW is looking to develop a second-generation Amarok pickup. The open question facing VW: whether to give its dealers a rebadged body-on-frame Ranger or a unibody pickup built in Chattanooga and based on the Atlas crossover. VW displayed its Atlas Tanoak pickup concept in March at the New York auto show.
Oct. 19: Amid speculative stories suggesting a broader tie-up was possible, Ford's vice president of communications, Mark Truby, told reporters that "any strategic alliance would not involve equity arrangements, including cross ownership stakes."
Oct. 26: The talks could include a potential tie-up on autonomous driving, and arrangements to make vehicles for each other would result in significant cost-sharing, Bloomberg reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.