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In March this year, Automotive News reported Ford and Volkswagen are negotiating a potential deal on technologies for electric and autonomous vehicles. The same source, quoting the German company’s boss, Herbert Diess, now says the deal will be finalized soon as talks are “progressing well.”

Dies talked in Wolfsburg during a gathering of the VW’s 500 most senior executives. He revealed that, aside from focusing on commercial vehicles and trucks, the extended deal should also help both companies optimize investments in new technologies and counter slowing sales.

“Without a strong presence in the U.S. – still our weakest region – global trade conflicts risk putting us in a dire situation,” Diess commented during the meeting. “Today we are a company that’s strongly influenced by China. We need a counterweight in the U.S.”

Citing “people familiar with the talks,” Automotive News claims an agreement could be announced as early as July this year. It is expected to include an investment from Volkswagen in Ford’s autonomous affiliate Argo AI, as reported back in March. According to preliminary expectations, if the agreement becomes a fact, it would form a rival for Google’s Waymo and General Motors' Cruise in terms of ambitions and scope.

One of the main reasons Volkswagen is open to a tie-up with Ford is because the manufacturer wants to increase its valuation, Diess added during his speech. In his eyes, a high valuation is “an important acquisition currency in the upcoming phase of consolidation in the industry” and “a virtual currency for partnerships that we need for the transformation.”

More details about the potential extended Ford-VW deal are expected in the coming weeks so stay tuned for more news.

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