Friday, March 1

The alliance between Ford and Volkswagen points to a problem: all electric cars will be the same

The Ford and Volkswagen alliance for the promotion of electric cars is strengthened with a new model from the American firm. Ford has confirmed that it will make seven new all-electric models through 2024 (four will be commercial vehicles). Until now we knew that one of them will be armed on the Volkswagen Group MEB platform, but it seems that it will not be the only one. It is one more example of where the industry is going.

The alliance. In 2018, Ford and Volkswagen reached an agreement: the MEB platform would allow the construction of Ford vehicles and it would be in charge of assembling two commercial vehicles that would carry their own signature. Since then, the novelties have come with a drop count. We have not yet seen that first electric model but now we know that there will be a second SUV that will be based on the German platform. And everything indicates that the new Volkswagen battery plant will be built next to Sagunto, among other reasons, because of its proximity to the plant that the Americans have in Almussafes.

against the foot. The growth in electrified models that other manufacturers are experiencing and the pressure from the European institutions, which have advanced the end of combustion vehicles and propose a new European emission regulation to force their electrification seems to have disrupted the plans of the American firm. Despite everything, a little over a year ago it already announced that it would only sell electric cars from 2030 and in 2026 they want all their models to have an exclusively electric version.

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The foundations. In complicated situations, drastic measures. Ford announced just a few days ago that its brand will be divided into two: Ford Model e and Ford Blue. The first will be dedicated exclusively to the development of electric models and connected services. The second, for combustion vehicles, will have the mission of financing Ford Model e until it is able to fly on its own.

What am I buying? The Volkswagen Group enters this strategy. With the aim of lowering costs, we already know that two new models will have the platform of the German group. There will be an electric Puma, to which two other new models will be added. The first will be a compact SUV. Of the other, nothing is known yet, beyond that it is classified as a “sports crossover” by Ford. But, if two of three new electric models carry the Volkswagen platform and Volkswagen batteries (that factory in Sagunto), what is the added value that Ford provides?

The future is in services. Ford is not the only firm that reuses platforms. We have already seen that the Volkswagen Group uses the same for its Seat, Skoda, Audi and, of course, Volkswagen. The Stellantis Group does the same with Peugeot, Citroën and Opel, but it will also do so with Alfa Romeo or DS. Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi also join forces.

The standardization of models is a fact. And the electric car, with greater simplicity in its construction, will delve a little deeper into it. Especially if we take into account that the paradigm shift will mean an increase in costs and, therefore, alliances will be even more necessary. New subscription services, updates and new systems for the connected and autonomous vehicle will make a difference.

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who can pay. Do we want to have a different and unique car? Porsche and Mercedes give you the answer: we will have to pay for it. Both firms have decided to go it alone when developing their electric models. The objective is to offer an added value that others do not have. And that strategy may be the one Ford explores. Whoever wants his top of the range, whoever collects everything that the oval firm can offer, will have to go to his Ford Mustang Mach-E which, on the other hand, for the moment remains his only electric vehicle.

If this way of acting is confirmed, Ford Model e would make even more sense, experimenting with vehicles with lower sales volume, looking for that extra for the firm’s models and developing connected services for its best-selling models, with which they hope to run less risk and save costs, taking advantage of the MEB platform of the Volkswagen Group.

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