Friday, July 28, 2006

Alex from Brazil reminds us of AutoLatina a Ford/VW joint venture in the 90's

Alex Silva from Brazil wrote me an e-mail telling me about a unique point in Ford history. Recent history that is, in South America. I had mentioned on MyFordDreams that Brazil and Argentina had unique automotive markets and that in fact the Ford Falcon from the early 60's had been built until 1991 with really just minor comsetic upgrades considering 30 years of production. Well did you know that Ford and Volkswagen formed a joint venture in the early 90's ? Does the car above look familiar? It should take the Ford blue oval out of the grill and it's a VW Passat/Quantum from the late 80's.
Same with this 3 door wagon version of the Ford Versailles. In my last post I was just talking about Ford Focus overtaking the VW Golf as the top dog in Europe and here they are rebadging each other's cars in Brazil. Each company also sold these cars in other parts of Latin America and even exported to China.
And what is that VW? It's a Ford Verona, or a 2 door version of the Ford Orion from Europe. If I've got it right and you can check the Wiki article linked in the title to check, the Ford Orion was a 4 door sedan version of the Ford Escort but in Latin America a 2 door sedan was needed hence the Verona, also badged as the VW Apollo. It get's better, the Ford Escort hatch was sold as the VW Pointer ( later changed to a Nissan platform in other markets) And the VW Passat/Quantum became the Ford Versailles and in wagon form the Versailles Royale.
This is a UK Ford Orion 4 door. As when VW stretched the Golf to become the Jetta, Ford added a trunk to the Escort to create Orion.

It's funny with all of the recent talk of "alliances", mergers and joint ventures recently, to realize what an incestuous industry it already is. It's a spider web of shared platforms and powertrains and just outright rebadging around the globe already.

Quick list of companies that Ford has worked with over the years around the globe; VW, Nissan (Maverick, Quest), Fiat, Mitsubishi(supplied Diesels to Ford Ranger and Joint venture in South Africa), PSA ( Citreon and Peugeot) Yamaha(SHO engines and now Volvo V8), Kia (Festiva/Aspire) , Mazda, Volvo, SAAB ( Ford sold them V4's) GM (new 6 & 7 speed auto transmissions) BMW ( Range Rover purchase and engine supply until Ford had powertrain) and of course Jaguar and Aston Martin. This doesn't even count the many "Specialty" manufacturers such as Shelby, DeTomaso or Koenigseg . Can you add to this list?

My what a tangled web we weave?

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