Volkswagen plans to spend about €44 billion ($50 billion) over the next five years on a comprehensive electrified mobility strategy that includes making at least 15 million battery-powered autos and further research into autonomous driving. But any cooperation agreement with Ford Motor Co. will remain limited for now to light commercial vehicles, Volkswagen's board of management said Friday.
The scope of the company's investment was announced after the board's annual long-term planning meeting, where the group updates its strategy for a rolling five-year period.
Source: Staff, wires
In a press conference, CEO Herbert Diess, speaking through an interpreter, repeated that Volkswagen continues to talk to Ford about an alliance in light commercial vehicles, where both automakers have smaller market shares. Diess said Volkswagen "expects significant synergy effects" from such an alliance and is discussing other areas where the two might cooperate, including replacing the Amarok compact pickup, but that Ford and Volkswagen "will remain competitors."
"We are looking into common platforms that we have. Ford's very strong in the U.S.; we're very strong in China. By the end of the year, we want to have the core of the partnership established, and then we'll look for other opportunities," Diess explained. He rejected speculation that the two large automakers might combine in some fashion, describing the relationship as "tactical, long-term cooperation."
The Volkswagen CEO also said no decision has been made on where it will build a plant to assemble its electric vehicles in North America. He said the automaker's complex in Chattanooga remains "in contention" but a final decision would be taken "in the course of the coming year."
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