As quickly as the Teutonic knights of Daimler shed one relationship with a dirty 'merican auto company, they've now just signed up to partner with another one. This time instead of a merger of equals, it's merely a joint stake with Ford and Ballard Power Systems in a new company the two automakers (and one supplier!) are calling "Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation," which we're assuming can also be called by it's partial acronym, "AutoFuCC." (Pause for laughter) The new, privately-held company will focus on automotive fuel cell technology and allow the two automakers to further expand their global leading position in fuel cell technology. With a share of 50.1 percent, Daimler AG will be the majority stakeholder in the new company. Ford Motor Company will hold a 30-percent stake and Ballard Power Systems the remaining stake of 19.9 percent in the cooperative effort. Full press release after the jump.
DAIMLER AG, FORD MOTOR COMPANY TO BECOME PRIMARY STAKEHOLDERS IN NEW AUTOMOTIVE FUEL CELL COOPERATION
* Ballard Power Systems transfers division for fuel cell applications in passenger cars to new company called Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation
* Daimler and Ford are primary stakeholders in the new privately-held company
* Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation marks an important step for the fuel cell alliance between Daimler, Ford and Ballard and allows each to concentrate on their area of expertise
* The new company will be a technology leader in fuel cell technology for cars and buses
VANCOUVER, CANADA - Nov. 8, 2007 - Daimler AG and Ford Motor Company are forming a new, privately-held company that will focus on automotive fuel cell technology and allow the two automakers to further expand their global leading position in fuel cell technology. With a share of 50.1 percent, Daimler AG will be the majority stakeholder in the new company, Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (AFCC). Ford Motor Company will hold a 30-percent stake and Ballard Power Systems the remaining stake of 19.9 percent in AFCC.
"We have identified the future fields of activity and key technologies for zero-emission mobility and we are investing specifically in expanding our competencies in these fields," said Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for Group Research as well as for Development within Mercedes-Benz Cars. "Our majority stake and partnership with Ford in Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation is a logical step in this direction."
* "The fuel cell remains one of the most viable solutions to develop a sustainable, zero-emissions vehicle," said Dr. Gerhard Schmidt, Ford vice president for Research and Advanced Engineering. "The creation of the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation is an investment in our future. Fuel cells are the technology of the future and we are happy to be working with a great partner like Daimler to advance this technology. Through this partnership, we will work even harder to make fuel cell technology even more reliable and affordable for the future."
* The creation of AFCC will allow Daimler and Ford to concentrate on automotive fuel cell technology while Ballard will emphasize their future efforts on the marketing of non-automotive fuel cell applications.
"Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation will orient its activities even more intensively to the specific requirements we make on fuel cell stacks," said Prof. Dr. Herbert Kohler, Vice President with responsibility for Advanced Vehicle and Powertrain Engineering and Chief Environmental Officer of the Daimler Group. "With the newly founded company, we strengthen our leading position in the field of fuel cell technology and go full steam ahead in our preparations for the series production of fuel cell cars."
Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation will be managed by Daimler and Ford with their collective 80.1 percent stake in the new company, while Ballard will hold the remaining stake of 19.9 percent. In return, Daimler AG and Ford will retransfer their total stake in Ballard. The new company will employ approximately 150 people.
Fuel Cells at Daimler AG
A pioneer in fuel cell technology, Daimler introduced the world's first fuel cell vehicle in 1994. Today, the company has more than 100 fuel cell vehicles on the road accumulating more than 3.7 million kilometers (2.3 million miles) in everyday operation with customers to date.
Fuel Cells Part of a Broader Effort at Ford
Ford Motor Company currently has a fleet of 30 hydrogen-powered Focus fuel cell vehicles on the road as part of a worldwide, seven-city program to conduct real world testing of fuel cell technology. The 30-car fleet has accumulated more than 965,000 kilometers (600,000 miles) since its inception in 2005.
Ford also is conducting tests with the world's first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the Ford Edge with HySeries Drive. The Ford Edge with HySeries Drive uses a series electric drivetrain with an onboard hydrogen fuel cell generator to give the vehicle a range of 225 miles with zero emissions.
Ford currently offers gasoline-electric hybrids including the Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid. The company will begin production of hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan in 2008.
About Daimler AG
Daimler can look back on a tradition that stretches back over more than 100 years and is marked by the pioneering achievements of automotive engineering. Today, the company is a leading supplier of premium passenger cars as well as the world's largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles. With its strong brands and its comprehensive portfolio of automobiles from compact cars to heavy-duty engine trucks, Daimler, with 271,486 employees, is active in nearly all countries in the world. For more information regarding Daimler's products, please visit www.media.daimler.com .
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 260,000 employees and about 100 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.fordvehicles.com.