DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen Group are planning to collaborate on commercial vans and midsize pickups, company officials said at the Detroit Auto Show, and are exploring the joint development of autonomous and electric vehicles as part of a broad partnership designed to save both companies hundreds of millions of dollars.
The global alliance comes as both auto makers attempt to shore up their business in overseas markets and navigate rising costs associated with emerging technologies. Both sides have been talking since at least June.
"As someone with less than two years in the industry, it's my opinion that you can't do this alone," Ford CEO Jim Hackett said on a conference call with media and analysts. "We believe this fundamental shift is healthy. It allows us to focus on our strengths while at the same time, offer many competitive options."
Both auto makers ruled out any cross ownership, and Mr. Hackett stressed they would remain "two separate and distinct companies."
As part of the alliance, Ford will develop midsize pickups and large commercial vans for both companies as early as 2022. The midsize pickup will be based on Ford's new Ranger platform and will be produced for the South American, African and European markets only.
The large van will be based on Ford's Transit Custom, which is not sold in North America, and will be built for the European market. Volkswagen intends to develop and build a city van for both auto makers.