++SOUNDBITES PARTIALLY SEPARATED BY A WHITE FLASH++
1. SOUNDBITE (English) Jim Hackett, Ford President and CEO:
"Folks this is big news because the combination of these two companies in this industry make this instantaneously the largest platform working on this. Ford and VW could have partnered with anyone. Everyone was after us. But we both chose Argo. And together we're on a path to create the industry's leading autonomous vehicle platform and having two global automakers as customers is gonna be leverage they can use because they can recruit and retain more talent where the race will arguably be won or lost."
2. Various, prototype Argo AI parked on the street
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Jim Hackett, Ford President and CEO:
"The way this is starting to transact today I think is a is a modern version of when you have technologies that aren't proven yet or the acceptance in the market isn't as high as you need it to be. These are really smart ways for shareholders to make sure that companies are evolving but not taking too much risk."
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Jim Hackett, Ford President and CEO:
"We will collaborate VW and Ford with Argo on what we call the self-driving system or the SDS. That means Ford and Volkswagen will be able to reduce what is a large investment for this AV business. We'll also be able to co-create common AV platforms for now and in the future. This helps in the down stream manufacturing so that you're not doing a unicorn every time you you have different brands or you change models."
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Herbert Diess, Volkswagen AG CEO:
"We like to work with Ford because we have a lot of shared values and both companies are very complementary. Now we are very strong in Europe and also in China. We are very weak in the United States and in many other areas. It's just very useful for both companies to combine some of their resources to make both companies stronger."
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Herbert Diess, Volkswagen AG CEO:
"In the past months we thoroughly evaluated all options for our approach towards autonomous driving. In joining forces with Argo AI we found the best solution for Volkswagen. We can share significant R&D costs in the high triple digit million dollar area and that's for Volkswagen alone. We will accelerate speed to market Volkswagen will make use of the SDS platform by commercializing it in a vehicle in the early 2020s."
Volkswagen and Ford announced a new partnership Friday to develop self driving car technology.
The German automaker will sink $2.6 billion into a Pittsburgh autonomous vehicle company that's mostly owned by Ford as part of a broader partnership on electric and self-driving vehicles.
The two automakers will become equal owners of Argo AI, a robocar firm that was majority-owned by Ford, with plans to put autonomous vehicles on the roads in the U.S. and Europe.
The tie-up has been in the works for months and is another in a long string of industry partnerships as auto companies and tech firms try to spread the enormous costs of developing self-driving and electric vehicles.
Also under the deal, Ford will use VW's new modular electric vehicle underpinnings to build zero-emissions vehicles for the European market starting in 2023.
The company hopes to sell 600,000 of them over six years. VW, the world's largest automaker measured by sales, already has invested $7 billion in the new platform, which it plans to use to build 15 million electric vehicles worldwide in the next decade.
The Ford-VW alliance vaults Argo into one of the highest-valued autonomous vehicle development companies in the world.
It's also another in a series of investments, purchases and partnerships between auto and tech companies as they develop new technology while they are still cranking out vehicles powered by internal combustion engines.