The experts have long predicted that marriages of a sort would continue in the auto world as makers come to grips with the high cost of planning and producing the cars and trucks of the future.
Now four have agreed to be at least best buds.
Volkswagen and Ford are exploring several joint projects including the development of a range of commercial vehicles. But they stressed that any alliance would not involve equity arrangements, including cross ownership stakes.
“Ford is committed to improving our fitness as a business and leveraging adaptive business models – which include working with partners to improve our effectiveness and efficiency,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s president of Global Markets. “This potential alliance with the Volkswagen Group is another example of how we can become more fit as a business, while creating a winning global product portfolio and extending our capabilities.”
Dr. Thomas Sedran, Head of Volkswagen Group Strategy said, “Markets and customer demand are changing at an incredible speed. Both companies have strong and complementary positions in different commercial vehicle segments already. To adapt to the challenging environment, it is of utmost importance to gain flexibility through alliances.”
And there is more this morning.
Hyundai and Audi announced they have entered into a multi-year “patent cross-licensing agreement” covering a wide range of fuel cell electric vehicles to include components and technologies.
The two said they would make joint efforts in developing fuel cell vehicles to lead the industry to “a more sustainable future.”
One Hyundai official called the agreement “the fastest way to a truly zero-emission world.”
Volvo today inaugurates its first U.S. manufacturing plant, in Charleston, South Carolina, given them plants in all three major sales regions.
The Charleston plant starts production of the new Volvo S60 premium mid-size sports saloon in the autumn of 2018. From 2021, the factory will also build the next generation of the Volvo XC90 large premium SUV. Cars built at the plant are destined both for the domestic U.S. market and international export.
Mazda is adding some horsepower to the fun to drive MX-5 Miata for 2019. The 2.0-liter four will now be rated at 181 horsepower at 7,000 rpm with 151 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. That compares with 155 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 148 lb-ft of torque at 4,600 in the 2018 model.
For 2019 there is also a new exhaust system that is said to produce “richer sound quality.”
Also just ahead, an available brown canvas soft top, black metallic 17-inch wheels, a newly telescoping steering wheel, easier-to-open doors and revised door stops and revised cup holders and seat levers.
Look for the new one to arrive in showrooms this fall. It should be even more fun to drive!
The Korean Trio of Genesis, Kia and Hyundai were the top three nameplates in the just released J.D. Power Initial Quality Study for 2018.
It measures the number of problems experienced during the first 90 days of ownership, and Power said overall quality is now at its highest level ever. Quality improved across six of the eight categories, with 21 of the 31 brands showing gains from 2017.
Domestically, Ford, GM, and Fiat Chrysler all topped the industry average for improvements.
At the bottom of the list were Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo.