Ford is open to partnerships in green car technology but will be cautious

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

While Ford Motor Co. is willing to partner with other companies in green car technology, it will be cautious in forging an alliance, according to Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. Ford is believed to be treading carefully on the topic of tie-ups after last week's news that its rivals -- Renault, Nissan and Daimler announced that they have entered a deal that will have them swap stakes and on electric cars, passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.

In an interview last Monday at the sidelines of Fortune Brainstorm Green conference, Bill Ford said that the carmaker is wary about going into any joint venture with the premise that it will save money and manpower.

Ford said that the company's experience has been that it does neither. Ford has actually just negotiated the sale of its Volvo brand to China carmaker Geely for $1.8 billion after having paid almost $6.5 billion for the unit in 1999.

In 2007, Daimler AG also unraveled its own money-losing merger with Chrysler, taking a loss of over $30 billion on the transaction.

Ford said that there has to be a clear agreement on the division of work and the ownership of any intellectual property created by the partnership. He added that in entering a joint venture, the expectations have to be very clear.

Alliances aren´t new to Ford but so far, it has only had them with companies outside the auto industry. Its partnership with Microsoft provides the carmaker with the Sync voice-recognition technology and a software system that manages home recharging of electric cars.

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