VW closes $2.6 billion investment in self-driving start-up Argo AI

Volkswagen AG CEO Dr. Herbert Diess, left, and Ford CEO Jim Hackett during a press conference in New York, July 12, 2019.

Meghan Reeder | CNBC

Volkswagen AG has closed on its $2.6 billion investment in Argo AI, the Pittsburgh-based autonomous vehicle start-up announced Tuesday.

The German automaker’s deal with Argo and Ford Motor, which acquired a majority stake in the start-up in 2017, included $1 billion in cash and Argo taking over VW’s European self-driving unit, valued at $1.6 billion, as well as the unit’s more than 200 employees. VW also agreed to purchase $500 million in shares of Argo from Ford over a three-year period. The deal was first announced in July.

“This news not only solidifies our well-capitalized position, but differentiates us as the only self-driving technology platform company with partnerships and commercial agreements for deployment across the U.S. and Europe,” Argo CEO Bryan Salesky and Reinhard Stolle, vice president of Argo Munich, wrote on

Ford executives, in a separate statement, said the deal will “better serve our future customers while improving cost and capital efficiencies.”

In April, Ford said it would postpone plans to launch its autonomous vehicle commercial services with Argo from next year to 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Argo was founded in 2016 by Salesky, who previously worked on Google’s self-driving car project, and Peter Rander, previously of Uber’s Advanced Technology Center.

Correction: A previous version misstated how many people are employed in Volkswagen’s European self-driving unit employs. It is more than 200 employees.

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