Ford has been selling its Transit Custom cargo van (shown) in Europe since 2012.
 - Photo courtesy of Ford.

Ford has been selling its Transit Custom cargo van (shown) in Europe since 2012.

Photo courtesy of Ford.

Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG have formed a global alliance to share costs and improve efficiency in the development of commercial midsize pickups and vans for various global markets, including the U.S., the companies announced at the Detroit auto show.

"Over time, this alliance will help both companies create value and meet the needs of our customers and society," said Jim Hackett, Ford's CEO. "It will not only drive significant efficiencies and help both companies improve their fitness, but also gives us the opportunity to collaborate on shaping the next era of mobility."

Under the agreement, Ford will develop a midsize pickup and full-size van for both companies that could be sold in various global markets as early as 2022. Volkswagen will develop a city van for both companies.

Earlier this month, Ford began selling its 2019 Ranger after an eight-year hiatus. In March, Volkswagen showed a concept midsize pickup called the Tanoak based on the Atlas SUV at the New York auto show.

In the U.S., midsize pickup sales have sharply ramped up in recent years, and increased 14.9% to 518,946 in 2018. Vehicles in the category include the sales-leading Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado, Nissan Frontier, GMC Canyon, and Honda Ridgeline. Sales of the Tacoma and Colorado were 24% and 19% higher than 2017.

Collectively, the companies sold about 1.2 million light commercial vehicles in 2018 that included Ford's global Ranger pickup and Transit vans, as well as Volkswagen's Transporter, Caddy, and Amarok vehicles.

Ford and Volkswagen are also considering collaborating on electrified vehicles, autonomous vehicles, and mobility services. The alliance doesn't involve cross-ownership between the companies.

"Volkswagen and Ford will harness our collective resources, innovation capabilities and complementary market positions to even better serve millions of customers around the world," said Herbert Diess, Volkswagen AG's CEO. "At the same time, the alliance will be a cornerstone for our drive to improve competitiveness."

Editor's note: Story updated with more detail on Jan. 18.

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