VW to Invest $1.7 Billion in Ford’s Argo Unit?

Volkswagen AG has tentatively agreed to invest about $1.7 billion in Ford Motor Co.’s Argo autonomous-vehicle unit, sources tell The Wall Street Journal.

The deal would culminate months of talks between the two carmakers about partnering on a wide variety of advanced automotive technologies. They agreed in January to collaborate on light-duty commercial vehicles and midsize pickup trucks, with Ford producing the vehicles for both brands by early 2022.

Argo is a Pittsburgh, Pa.-based developer of software to operate self-driving vehicles. Ford announced in 2017 it would acquire a controlling stake in the months-old company by investing $1 billion over five years.

Argo is part of Ford’s autonomous-vehicle unit, which was spun off last August as Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC in an effort to attract outside investors. The planned new investment by VW would make Argo the epicenter of a 50:50 joint venture between Ford and VW.

The Journal’s sources say VW will make an equity investment in the venture worth about $600 million and contribute $1.1 billion in working capital for r&d.

VW eventually may affiliate its own advanced mobility assets—such as its Audi Autonomous Intelligent Driving group and Berlin-based Moia mixed-mobility services business—with Argo, according to the report.