VW and Microsoft have entered a strategic partnership to support future car sharing, tech and fleet endeavours, as of 28 September.

In a release, VW and Microsoft said both will “deeply collaborate” to accelerate Volkswagen’s digital transformation.

As part of this, Volkswagen will use the Microsoft Azure platform as the foundation for its Automotive Cloud and connected car services for its fleet, including native tech platform “Volkswagen We”.

Volkswagen will establish an automotive cloud development office in North America and Microsoft will help support its initial development.

VW will leverage Microsoft’s expertise and learnings from its own transformation to help define what will make Volkswagen’s Automotive Cloud unique and adaptable globally, said the release.

“The strategic partnership with Microsoft will turbocharge our digital transformation,” said Dr Herbert Diess, chief executive of Volkswagen AG. “Volkswagen, as one of the world’s largest automakers, and Microsoft, with its unique technological expertise, are outstandingly well-matched. Together, we will play a key role in shaping the future of auto-mobility.”

“Volkswagen is harnessing technology to digitally transform and deliver innovative new connected car services to its customers,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive of Microsoft. “The world’s leading companies run on Azure, and we are thrilled that Volkswagen has chosen Microsoft. Together we will reimagine the driving experience for people everywhere.”

VW has been active in growing its fleet presence in recent months.

Volkswagen Pon Financial Services (VWPFS), VW’s leasing arm in the Netherlands, acquired the leasing operations of the Autohaas group, as the company narrows the gap with rivals in one of Europe’s most competitive fleet markets.

Autohaas, already one of the main distribution and servicing partners for VW’s brands in the Netherlands, will sell off its XLLease, XLEasy and XLRent brands, which provide B2B leasing, B2C leasing and rental respectively.

In May, Reuters reported that VW was in talks to manage part of Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing’s fleet, as well as to supply it with vehicles,

Citing an anonymous executive source in the carmaker, Reuters said the two companies are to sign a deal under which VW would manage a fleet of around 100,000 vehicles for Didi, two-thirds of which would be VW group cars.