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Exclusive: VW, Ford to unveil deeper alliance at Detroit auto show -- sources

Reuters logo Reuters 1/9/2019 By Jan Schwartz and Ben Klayman

a close up of a red car: FILE PHOTO: Car manufacturers display their wares on the show floor of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit© Reuters/Jonathan Ernst FILE PHOTO: Car manufacturers display their wares on the show floor of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit HAMBURG/DETROIT (Reuters) - Volkswagen AG and Ford Motor Co will unveil a deeper alliance during next week's Detroit auto show that goes beyond cooperating in the area of commercial vehicles, two sources familiar with the plan said on Wednesday.

Ford and VW are exploring closer cooperation as trade frictions force carmakers to rethink where they build cars for Europe, the United States and China, and as software companies prepare to launch their own self-driving cars.

“A global alliance is expected to be announced,” one source said, adding that the pact will be unveiled next Tuesday.

The scope of the alliance is still being determined, the sources said, as talks about cooperation in the area of electric and autonomous cars continue.

"Talks are going well," said a second source, who declined to be named. Volkswagen is reviewing whether to invest in Ford's autonomous vehicles division while Ford executives are considering licensing Volkswagen's MEB electric vehicles platform, the second source said.

The Ford logo is seen on a vehicle at the New York Auto Show in New York© Reuters/SHANNON STAPLETON The Ford logo is seen on a vehicle at the New York Auto Show in New York

Ford reiterated on Wednesday that it has been talking with VW about potential collaborations in a number of areas.

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"It is premature to share additional details at this time," Ford said in a statement. "We look forward to sharing an update soon.”

VW had no immediate comment.

In June, Ford and VW unveiled a pact in commercial vehicles including vans, adding that they were investigating "several joint projects".

In December, VW Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess said, "We are in quite advanced negotiations and dialogue with Ford Corporation to really build up a global automotive alliance, which also would strengthen the American automotive industry."

At the time, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr told reporters that talks with Volkswagen about an alliance were going "very well"

The Detroit auto show runs from Jan. 14 to Jan. 27.

(Reporting by Jan Schwartz in Hamburg and Ben Klayman in Detroit; Writing by Edward Taylor; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle and Matthew Lewis)

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