Ford and Volkswagen iconsIn a surprise development, Volkswagen AG and Ford have announced they’re “exploring a strategic alliance” that could see the two companies work together on a series of joint ventures.

These include developing a range of commercial vehicles together, revealed the two companies in a joint statement.

No cash will change hands and neither company is going to own a part of the other, add the two car firms. The Memorandum of Understanding has been signed purely to explore a strategic alliance, one that will “strengthen each company’s competitiveness and better serve customers globally”.

Ford president of global markets, Jim Fairley, said the partnership would be part of Ford’s commitment to be a more effective and efficient company by working with global partners.

“This potential alliance with the Volkswagen Group is another example of how we can become more fit as a business, while creating a winning global product portfolio and extending our capabilities.”

He added the two will now explore “how we might work together to better serve the evolving needs of commercial vehicle customers – and much more”. 

The tease at the end suggests nothing is off the table at this stage…

For years, Volkswagen partnered with Mercedes-Benz on commercial vehicles, but this collaboration has now ceased. Volkswagen’s head of group strategy is Dr. Thomas Sedran. “Markets and customer demand are changing at an incredible speed,” he said.

“Both companies have strong and complementary positions in different commercial vehicle segments already. To adapt to the challenging environment, it is of utmost importance to gain flexibility through alliances.

“This potential industrial cooperation with Ford is seen as an opportunity to improve competitiveness of both companies globally.”

News of the potential partnership could be of particular interest to Ford’s many engineers based at its Dunton development centre in the UK: many Ford vans are developed there, including the latest Transit connect which has recently been facelifted for 2018. Volkswagen has also recently launched its latest all-new large van, the Sprinter.