Ford and Volkswagen have confirmed the first stage of their global alliance on the second press day of the 2019 Detroit motor show.
As expected, the automakers will work together on utes and vans across the globe. The two companies were at pains to point out their new partnership will not involve any form of cross-ownership. Instead a joint committee, featuring both CEOs, will run the alliance.
Financial benefits from the alliance should become apparent from 2023, the automakers say, with savings starting out at around US$500 million ($695 million) per year.
The two automakers have also signed a memorandum of understanding to cover further collaboration discussions, largely centred around electric vehicle, mobility services, and autonomous car development, with Ford and Volkswagen continuing to work "through details in the coming months".
In this first stage of their new alliance, Ford will be responsible for engineering and building the next-generation medium-sized ute sold throughout the world. Due to go on sale as early as 2022, the new utes will replace today's Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok.
The Blue Oval will also take the lead role in developing and manufacturing the next-generation of "larger commercial vans for European customers". This will probably include the replacements for the Ford Transit Custom and Transit, and Volkswagen Transporter.
It's not clear how much differentiation these jointly developed utes and vans will have.
If recent history is anything to go by, it's possible the new Ranger and Amarok will have significant superficial differences.
As we've seen in other van collaborations, styling changes may be limited to different bumper, grille and headlight treatments.
This is not first time Volkswagen and Ford have worked together. Previous collaborations have included the first-generation Volkswagen Sharan and Ford Galaxy people movers in Europe.
There was also AutoLatina, a joint-venture in Brazil and Argentina during the late 1980s and early 1990s, where Ford and Volkswagen rebadged each others cars and trucks.