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Detroit Auto Show: Ford and Volkswagen unveil auto alliance

The auto giants will share the cost of building vans of the future
The partnership between Ford and Volkswagen has shifted up a gear.

The American and European motoring giants are setting up an alliance to build vans. They will also explore working together on the development of electric and self-driving cars.

The BBC's Michelle Fleury is attending the auto show in Detroit and sent this report.

(Image: The Ford exhibit is shown at the 2018 North American International Auto Show. Credit: Getty Images)

More on VW-Ford alliance

Jim Hackett

“Over time, this alliance will help both companies create value and meet the needs of our customers and society,” said Jim Hackett, (pictured) chief executive of Ford.

“It will not only drive significant efficiencies and help both companies improve their fitness, but also gives us the opportunity to collaborate on shaping the next era of mobility.”

For his part of the chief executive of Volkswagen, Herbert Diess, is saying it will "harness our collective resources".

Volkswagen invests $800m into electric cars

Volkswagen car at Detroit Auto Show

German carmaker Volkswagen has announced at the Detroit Auto Show that it will be investing $800m into its car factory in the US, in order to enable it to start producing electric cars in 2022.

The plans also mean an additional 1,000 jobs will be created at the factory, which is located in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

And Volkswagen's chief executive Herbert Diess added that talks with Ford were meant to address a gap for Volkswagen.

"We are not as big in small commercial vehicles," he said. "So we decided to join forces with Ford there and we will become very, very competitive together in this segment, which consists of small commercial vans and small and mid-sized pickups."

Ford's European plans

BBC World News presenter Aaron Heslehurst is tweeting about Ford's potential plans for expansion, which could include German automaker Volkswagen...

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Volkswagen global deliveries hit new record

Volkswagen logo
Getty Images

Volkswagen says it delivered 10.83 million vehicles worldwide last year, a rise of 0.9% compared to 2017 and a fresh record.

South America recorded the biggest growth in new Volkswagen vehicles of 13.1% where strong demand in Brazil offset a fall in Argentina.

In North America, while deliveries to the US and Canada rose, they declined in Mexico resulting in a 2% drop for the region.

Deliveries to the Asia-Pacific region grew 0.9% "despite the negative effect of the Chinese market, where the overall economic situation became more sluggish in the second half of the year as a result of the trade dispute with the USA", the company said.

Volkswagen customers claim compensation

Volkswagen cars in a showroom
Getty Images

Thousands of people have signed up to claim compensation from the carmaker Volkswagen over the diesel emissions scandal in Germany.

The federal justice office said more than 300,000 people had filed claims, with a rush to get on the list before it closed at the end of 2018.

Several thousand VW owners joined the register in the last three days of the year.

This comes after a German consumer association filed a class action lawsuit against VW in November, in the hope that the carmaker will be found liable to pay damages to German consumers, who have been left out of pocket by having to replace their existing vehicles.

VW says emission targets are too severe

VW sign
Getty Images

Volkswagen has warned that new EU emission targets will be too difficult to meet.

The world’s largest carmaker, said its €30bn effort to roll out electric vehicles in the next five years will not be sufficient, according to the FT.

The German parent of Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and other brands said it will have to accelerate its shift into electric vehicles and may even need to end certain combustion models to meet the targets agreed in Brussels on Monday night.

The new regulations require that new cars sold in 2030 emit 37.5 per cent less CO2 on average, compared to 2021 levels.

VW may build cars at Ford US plants

Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess attended at meeting at the White House
Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess attended at meeting at the White House

Volkswagen's chief executive, Herbert Diess, says the German company may build cars at Ford plants in the US as part of an alliance between the auto firms, following a meeting at the White House.

Mr Diess said: "We are in quite advanced negotiations and dialog with Ford Corporation to really build up a global automotive alliance, which also would strengthen the American automotive industry."

Mr Diess was joined at a meeting with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross by Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler and Nicolas Peter, chief financial officer of BMW.

Before the meeting, Mr Ross said: "We're trying to get them all to increase their production in the US."

Watch: German car-makers head to Washington

There's more than one trade war in town...