Volkswagen (VW) and Ford have announced a partnership that could see the carmakers develop electric and self-driving cars together in future.
Both companies said they would co-operate on the development of pick-up trucks and vans initially as the industry moves to innovate and cut costs in a period of uncertainty for the global economy.
Ford said it did not expect its side of the agreement to result in any additional job losses beyond those announced last week in its plan to return to profitability in Europe.
Last month, VW had described a £2.8bn plan to cut costs further as it focuses on the development of electric technology in the wake of the so-called “dieselgate” scandal that has cost Europe’s largest carmaker in excess of $30bn (£23.5bn).
To begin with, the partnership would see Ford design and build medium-sized pick-ups for both companies and large vans for Europe.
VW would develop and build smaller vans.
The aim is to have the vehicles ready for sale by 2022.
Unusually, the tie-up will be governed by a joint committee containing top executives from both companies rather than by any cross-ownership structure such as a merger.
VW boss Herbert Diess, who will be on the committee along with his opposite number at Ford Jim Hackett, said they had signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop electric and self-driving vehicles but added that the details were still being worked out.