The partnership between the largest European car manufacturer, Volkswagen, and one of the largest in the USA, Ford, seems to be one of those marriages in which everyone wins, as the fact that one of the brands is strong on one side of the Atlantic, and the other on the other, opens the way for the sharing of various platforms or projects, without excessively pinching the sales of the “spouse”.
The courtship, which would later lead to the wedding, started because Ford is very good at designing pick-ups, the best-selling type of vehicle in the US, whereas for Volkswagen it was very difficult to get the investment in a second generation approved by management. Amarok, given the sales volume. Especially now that the most polluting vehicles are penalized, due to the heavier weight and worse aerodynamics. But VW also had cards up its sleeve, notably in small commercials, such as Caddy, which could give in to Ford in return with the base for the pick-up.
It follows that the new Ford Ranger, which the Americans are developing, a model that the brand also successfully markets in Europe, will serve as the basis for the next Volkswagen Amarok, scheduled for 2022. On the way, Ford has an excellent reputation producing larger commercial vans, in this case Transit, so the next Transporter and Crafter will inherit the American base.
Ford and Volkswagen estimate that between pick-ups and commercial vans, these of various sizes and shapes, more than 8 million vehicles will be transacted during the life cycle. It should be recalled that Mercedes, which also decided to make a foray into the universe of the pick-up with the X-Class, ended up giving up – which proves that this type of model is only viable, in the European market, if the production volume is very high.
The shared product that may prove to be more problematic, because it requires a much higher investment and interferes with recent technology, which not everyone controls, is the tram that Ford will design based on Volkswagen's MEB platform. It is easier to design a versatile electric vehicle platform, which allows the manufacture of the most different types of vehicles, from SUVs to saloons, than from bases designed for models with combustion engines. Hence Volkswagen developed MEB, on which the German brand will manufacture the ID.3 saloon, the ID.4 SUV and the ID van. Buzz. To which it is necessary to add the Audi, Seat, Cupra and Skoda that use the same base.
What VW did was to give the MEB platform to Ford, for now to allow it to design an electric vehicle, without having to invest several years and many millions of dollars to develop it. And this Ford tram is intended, in the first instance, to market in Europe.