Two of the world’s biggest auto manufacturers have been talking about a potential deal on a partnership for developing self-driving cars. Volkswagen and Ford are reportedly close to reaching a deal, according to the former’s chief executive today. The two companies have been in talks for months and these comments from a high-ranking VW executive show that they have entered into a fairly advanced stage.

VW CEO Herbert Diess told around 500 of the company’s top managers from across the globe at the headquarters in Wolfsburg today that the talks with Ford on a partnership for self-driving cars is “going well and nearly complete.” It would be an important strategic relationship with Ford which is already heavily invested in the development of self-driving cars.

“Without a strong presence in the U.S. – still our weakest region – global trade conflicts risk putting us in a dire situation,” Diess reportedly said during the meeting, adding that “Today we are a company that’s strongly influenced by China. We need a counterweight in the U.S.”

Reports suggest that the two companies could announce an agreement as early as next month. It will entail an investment from Volkswagen in Ford’s Argo AI autonomous affiliate. More details about this partnership are expected to surface closer to it being made public.

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