Volkswagen this week announced it hired former Apple executive Alexander Hitzinger to spearhead its self-driving car development, which it admitted in November was "one to two years behind Waymo," according to Reuters. A Ford-VW tieup for self-driving cars could challenge GM and Honda—which announced last year a partnership in GM's Cruise self-driving business unit—and Waymo.
2019 Ford Focus
5. Shared small cars. Last year, new VW U.S. boss Scott Keogh said the automaker would consider expanding its production facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to build more VW cars and he told NPR that it was "100 percent deep" in the process of finding a site to build electric cars in the U.S.
Any small-car plant in the U.S. could be co-owned with Ford to spread around costs, although both automakers have said that a deepening relationship would stop short of ownership stakes in each.
Last year, Ford largely abandoned its plans to sell passenger cars in the U.S. Sharing small cars with VW could prime the Blue Oval for a quick return to the U.S. if passenger car sales pick up or fuel costs sharply rise and slow consumer demand for crossovers and pickups.
6. A Ford-VW merger. A full-blown merger between the two automakers is unlikely and both have said that talks so far haven't included any consolidation. Globally, Volkswagen is roughly twice the size of Ford and it's unlikely that Ford would consider a junior partnership with VW.