The Volkswagen Group and Ford have released a joint statement announcing the signing of a memorandum of understanding, confirming that the two automakers are “exploring a strategic alliance designed to strengthen each company’s competitiveness” and better serve customers globally.

The statement said that the two firms 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 potential alliance would not involve equity arrangements, including cross ownership stakes, the statement said.

“Ford is committed to improving our fitness as a business and leveraging adaptive business models – which include working with partners to improve our effectiveness and efficiency,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s president of global markets.

“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.

“We look forward to exploring with the Volkswagen team in the days ahead how we might work together to better serve the evolving needs of commercial vehicle customers – and much more,” Farley said.

Thomas Sedran, head of Volkswagen Group strategy added that “markets and customer demand are changing at an incredible speed”.

“Both companies have strong and complementary positions in different commercial vehicle segments already. To adapt to the challenging environment, it is of utmost importance to gain flexibility through alliances,” said Sedran.

“This is a core element of our Volkswagen Group Strategy 2025. The potential industrial co-operation with Ford is seen as an opportunity to improve competitiveness of both companies globally.”

The statement said that the two companies would provide “updates and additional details” as talks progressed.