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Ford and Volkswagen Expand Global Alliance with Argo AI Investment

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Ford and Volkswagen expand global alliance
Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess (left) shakes hands with Ford CEO Jim Hackett
Photo: Ford Motor Company

Ford and Volkswagen have confirmed the long-rumored expansion of their global alliance to include autonomous and electrified vehicles. Volkswagen will join Ford in investing in Argo AI to the tune of $2.6 billion, giving the AV platform company a leg up in its quest to make its self-driving system the first put into commercial use.

Ford and VW will have equal stakes in Argo AI, giving the automakers a majority ownership of the company. The remainder of ownership will be reserved for Argo AI employees as part of an incentive pool. Both automakers will integrate Argo AI’s SDS into branded vehicles, and Ford will use Volkswagen’s Modular Electric Toolkit EV architecture for a commercial vehicle set to arrive in Europe in 2023. The agreement will not involve cross-ownership in either company, keeping Ford and VW otherwise independent from one another.

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“While Ford and Volkswagen remain independent and fiercely competitive in the marketplace, teaming up and working with Argo AI on this important technology allows us to deliver unmatched capability, scale and geographic reach,” said Ford CEO Jim Hackett. “Unlocking the synergies across a range of areas allows us to showcase the power of our global alliance in this era of smart vehicles for a smart world.”

Ford has pledged to commercialize SAW Level 4-capable autonomous vehicles by 2021 in the form of ride-sharing and delivery services. Ford announced a $1 billion investment in Argo AI in 2017; Volkswagen is purchasing $500 million in shares from Ford over the next three years. The investment gives Argo AI a valuation of approximately $7 billion.

Ford and VW announced the formation of a global alliance in January that will result in the joint development of commercial vans and trucks for release in Europe by 2022.

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