Volkswagen and Ford have said they are considering a “strategic alliance” to develop commercial vehicles.
The car making giants said on Wednesday that they were “exploring potential projects across a number of areas – including developing a range of commercial vehicles together to better serve the evolving needs of customers”.
The alliance would not involve any equity ownership arrangements, said the pair, which both have existing commercial vehicle segments.
Volkswagen produces a range of commercial vans and also owns truckmakers Scania and Man, while Ford’s most popular commercial vehicles include the Transit van and the F-series pick-up truck.
The tie-up comes as the automotive industry is under pressure to reduce reliance on diesel and follows the so-called "dieselgate" emissions scandal. Commercial vehicles are particularly reliant on the fuel and the new models are likely to move away from diesel engines.
Thomas Sedran, head of Volkswagen group strategy, said: “Markets and customer demand are changing at an incredible speed.
“To adapt to the challenging environment, it is of utmost importance to gain flexibility through alliances.”
Jim Farley, Ford’s president of global markets, said: “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."
Ford, which is on a on a mission to cut $25.5bn (£19.3bn) in costs under chief executive Jim Hackett, is no stranger to tie-ups with other companies. It previously teamed up with General Motors to develop automatic transmissions and is working with German mail service Deutsche Post to build no-frills electric vans.
Volkswagen has worked with German rival Daimler in the past to develop vans.
Earlier this week Rupert Stadler, the boss of Volkswagen-owned Audi was arrested in connection with Volkswagen's dieselgate scandal and was suspended from his position, with Abraham Schot replacing him as interim chief executive.