The first one hasn't even arrived yet.
Ford and Volkswagen announced an extensive partnership in 2020, with each automaker benefits from the other's engineering expertise. VW would receive a mid-size pickup truck based on the Ford Ranger, while Ford would build electric vehicles using VW's MEB architecture. The two companies also invested heavily in self-driving vehicles. Ford has already been spotted testing its first MEB-based vehicle, a small EV crossover that will slot below the 2021 Mustang Mach-E in the lineup.
This "mini Mach-E" will not come to the United States, and it's not slated to arrive until 2023. Though the first collaborative car built with VW is still years away, Ford is already working on a second one. "We have a point of view on that, and we have certain things we've agreed with Volkswagen," Ford of Europe president Stuart Rowley told Autocar.
Speaking during the Financial Times Future of the Car summit about plans involving VW's MEB platform, Rowley left the door wide open for more models. "Our alliance isn't meant to be capped or defined, and we're going to look for opportunities to work together for mutual benefit where it makes sense for both companies," he said. "I've got a point of view [on future plans]; we haven't shared that, but there could be a lot of opportunities with commercial vehicles, the MEB platform, and in other areas."
Collaborating with VW to develop EVs may seem like an odd move for Ford, a company that is already developing its own electric models. However, Rowley is not worried about his company losing ground. "In Ford, we have our own global battery-electric vehicle platforms, and we always will, such as with the Mustang Mach-E and the new F-150 Lightning. We will not cede leadership in this technology to anybody," he explained.
While Mach-E fits with the European market, the F-150 Lightning and E-Transit are far too large to thrive outside of North America.
"The mid-sized vehicle segment in Europe is very important, and there Volkswagen has a lot more scale than Ford, so it makes sense [to use MEB]," Rowley said. "For Ford, commercial vehicles in Europe are vital, and we have an agreement for a new one-tonne van [the next-generation Transit and Transporter] and pick-up [the Ranger and Amarok] with Volkswagen, and we will take the lead on those. The capital required to go on this journey is huge, and we're not the only company in this industry to look at alliances. We're both clear-eyed about it, but so far, we're both really pleased with the platform," he added.
"As we go forward, where one company has scale, it makes sense to draw on that. But to be very clear, Ford has and will have its own global battery electric platforms, and we'll use some of those in Europe also."