New York — The much-anticipated alliance announcement by Volkswagen and Ford left investors feeling let down as it lacks a big-bucks plan to join forces on electric vehicles and self-driving cars. Wall Street was hoping for a blockbuster deal, such as the billions of dollars General Motors landed for its self-driving unit from Honda and SoftBank Vision Fund in 2018. There also was some belief Ford would tap into VW’s enormous electric-vehicle development programme, so the companies could jointly take on Tesla’s dominance of that segment. Instead, VW and Ford merely said they are committed to exploring those areas, and formalised co-operation on commercial vehicles — a project the two companies announced they would pursue seven months ago. The payoff from joining forces to develop trucks and vans will not be peanuts: Ford sees the tie-up adding $500m to its annual pretax profit. But that benefit won’t be felt until 2023. “This is a toe-in-the-water kind of deal,” said Jeff Schuster, ...

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