New alliances are forming in the auto industry as the major automakers prepare for a reality where instead of owning their own car and dealing with traffic every day, people get around in fleets of self-driving taxis operated by mobility companies.
In February, BMW Group and Daimler merged all of their respective mobility companies under the one umbrella, with the goal to eventually add self-driving cars into the mix. And on Thursday, Honda and commercial vehicles brand Hino announced they were joining Monet, a mobility company established by Toyota and investment firm SoftBank in 2018. Monet plans to have self-driving cars on the road as early as 2020.
The Volkswagen Group meanwhile is in talks with Ford over a range of alliances, including the possibility of launching a mobility company and developing self-driving cars via Argo AI, the autonomous driving technology startup whose main shareholder is Ford.
“[Ford and Volkswagen] are in constructive talks about taking a stake in Argo, the Ford division for autonomous driving,” VW's commercial vehicles boss, Thomas Sedran, told Reuters on Thursday. “A joint company for offering mobility as a service is also a possibility.”
Ford and VW and already linked via an alliance announced in January to jointly develop commercial vehicles and share production facilities. One of the vehicles, VW confirmed on Thursday, will be a redesigned Amarok, a mid-size pickup truck sold by VW outside the United States. The new generation will likely be developed alongside a redesigned Ford Ranger.