What do the Ford Ranger and the Volkswagen Amarok have in common? Aside from competing against each other as mid-size pickup trucks, the Ranger and the Amarok have nothing in common. That may be true for now, but in the near future, these pickup trucks or their next-generation successors might be sharing the same underpinnings, thanks to a recently announced commercial vehicle joint venture.
A statement made by Volkswagen Group Australia managing director Michael Bartsch to GoAuto sparked a speculation that the just announced commercial vehicle joint venture between VW and Ford might eventually encompass the next generation of the VW Amarok and Ford Ranger.
Bartsch has remarked that to remain competitive in Australia, VW has to lower the cost base of the Amarok. He noted that the Amarok is being built in Argentina and Germany, both of which are high-cost markets for a product competing in a highly competitive environment. Bartsch commented that Argentina is facing an unstable currency while Germany has proven to be a high-cost source, which its rival carmakers source their products from Thailand and Japan. Because of this and the lack of a favorable trade agreement with the European Union, VW has been at a competitive disadvantage in Australia.
To lower the cost base for the Amarok, Bartsch said, they are looking at and exploring all options and all avenues. He noted that while it would be hypocritical of him to say that nothing is going on with Ford, he is currently not in the position to say what the commercial vehicle joint venture may include in the future.
Nonetheless, both the current generations of the VW Amarok and Ford Ranger are up for a massive redesign by the end of the decade (2020). At the time of their imminent redesign, these pickup trucks would still be underpinned by their existing architectures that have been underpinning these models since 2010 for the Amarok and since 2011 for the Ranger.
This means, that having the Amarok and Ranger share the same architecture wouldn’t happened until 2025. But when that happens, Volkswagen and Ford would benefit from efficiency and savings from the shared platform, allowing them to lower the cost or even the price of the Amarok and Ford.
Volkswagen and Ford inked a memorandum of understanding for a possible strategic alliance. The carmakers are exploring a number of potential projects in several areas like the development of a range of commercial vehicles together to better serve the evolving needs of customers. The potential alliance, however, wouldn’t involve equity arrangements.
Before this agreement, Volkswagen and Ford have partnered in a number of projects, like the AutoLatina joint venture in South America created in 1987. The carmakers also partnered in a project in Europe resulting in the creation of the Volkswagen Sharan, Seat Alhambra and Ford Galaxy.