7/12/2019 | 1 MINUTE READ

VW Invests $2.6 Billion in Ford’s Argo AI Unit

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Volkswagen AG has taken a roughly 37% stake in Ford Motor Co.’s Argo AI unit by agreeing to invest $1 billion in cash and merging its $1.6 billion Autonomous Intelligent Driving company with the Pittsburgh-based startup.

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Volkswagen AG has taken a roughly 37% stake in Ford Motor Co.’s Argo AI unit by agreeing to invest $1 billion in cash and merging its $1.6 billion Autonomous Intelligent Driving company with the Pittsburgh-based startup.

The deal values Argo AI, a developer of Level 4 autonomous driving systems, at $7 billion. VW’s investment will result in both companies holding equal stakes in Argo and giving them majority control over the company, whose workforce will grow 40% to more than 700 employees worldwide.

The carmakers also are expanding the global alliance they announced in January to include electric vehicles. Ford will use VW’s MEB (modular electric toolkit) EV platform to produce electric vehicles for the European market.

VW Group, which has invested $7 billion in the MEB chassis to date, intends to use it in 15 million EVs over the next 10 years. The first Ford model to ride on the platform is slated to debut in 2023. Ford expects to deliver more than 600,000 MEB-based vehicles in Europe by 2029.

The EV platform sharing plan does not involve cross-ownership between the partners and is separate from their joint investments in Argo. The same is so for the earlier agreement between the companies to share midsize pickup truck and commercial van chassis and production.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett says the partners will remain “fiercely competitive” in spite of their extended tie-ups.

Under their nonequity agreement in mid-January, the companies will share midsize pickup truck and light commercial vehicle platforms and production beginning in about 2022.

VW will develop and supply a city van for each partner to market in Europe and unspecified other markets. In return, Ford will design, engineer and produce a midsize pickup to replace VW’s Amarok truck in markets outside the U.S. The American company also will design and produce large commercial vans for both companies in Europe.