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Volvo and Daimler combine for vehicle software platform JV

The two major heavy-duty vehicle brands will briefly put aside their competitive nature to focus on a combined vehicle software platform

Volvo Group and Daimler Truck have announced their shared ambition to lead the transformation to software-defined heavy-duty commercial vehicles through a new joint venture.

The JV will allow for a software-defined vehicle platform that amplifies digital transformation and leads to both companies being the leading developers of the platform.

The new company is intended to be a 50/50 JV headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, with the two major commercial vehicle companies reaching a preliminary agreement.

The intention is to create a new standardised hardware and software that will enable both Volvo and Daimler, as well as other potential partners, to provide differentiating digital vehicle features for its products.

The JV will operate as an independent entity and Volvo and Daimler will continue to be competitors in all other areas of business, but the cooperation on digital technology development will become even more vital to best meet objectives.

“Volvo Group and Daimler Truck are two individually great companies. Now we are combining our forces to accelerate the customer benefits that a software-defined truck platform will bring,” Volvo Group president and CEO Martin Lundstedt says.

“Given the rapid transformation of our industry, it makes sense to collaborate to accelerate development, increase volumes and share cost. Software-defined heavy-duty trucks represent a paradigm shift in the transformation of our industry.

“Making the truck a programmable device with standardised hardware and operating system for fast product updates will give both companies the opportunity to create value for our customers and their customers though differentiating digital services and solutions. Partnership is truly the new leadership.”

The goal of both shareholders is to set the industry standard for a truck operating system and offer its products to other OEMs as well. To that end, the JV will provide a common developer platform as a service, on top of which its customers can build differentiating software layers.

“Just as important as the transformation towards CO2-neutral drive technologies is the digitalisation in the vehicle,” Daimler Truck CEO Martin Daum says.

“Developing a common software-defined vehicle platform with Volvo Group will enable us to turn our vehicles into a programmable device. It will allow us to build differentiating digital vehicle features with significantly greater speed and efficiency for our truck and bus customers around the globe.

“Together with the Volvo Group, we can develop a benchmark truck operating system and set an industry standard.”

The now signed preliminary agreement is non-binding, with a final agreement expected within this year ahead of an end goal to close the final transaction in the first quarter of next year, subject to examination and authority approvals.

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