Given that Ford and the Volkswagen Group compete head-to-head in multiple markets around the world, the extensive new partnership between two of the biggest car companies in the world might seem a surprise.

But the deal makes perfect business sense. Despite their individual scale, both have something that the other wants.

Volkswagen needs Ford’s expertise in commercial vehicles (which was the scope of the initial deal), such as the Transit van and mid-size pick-ups. In particular, the SUV and pick-up focused USA is one of the few markets where Volkswagen isn’t fighting for the top spot.

Led by the Tiguan and Atlas, Volkswagen has made huge strides with its North American SUV line-up in recent years – its sales in the segment were up 112% year-on-year in 2018 – but the firm doesn’t have a pick-up to offer in the market (the European Amarok is simply too small). Even if a VW pick-up developed on a Ford platform only captured a small share of the market, it could still be hugely successful for the firm.