As enthusiasts, it does happen quite often that we think about a “what if?” situation, where we wish brand ‘X’s’ engine could be mated with brand ‘Y’s’ chassis and suspension, which would make then for a perfect vehicle. In real life, auto manufacturers forge such partnerships to share each others’ strengths, resources, and in turn, benefit mutually by sharing the costs and profits. The newest such partnership is between Ford India (49%) and Mahindra (51%), who have announced a new joint venture for India where the strengths of both companies will be leveraged to deliver growth to both entities.
The new JV is expected to be operational by mid-2020 and for those concerned, Ford India isn’t shutting shop. It will be transferring its India operations to this new joint venture, except the engine plant operations in Sanand, their Global Business Services Unit, Ford Credit and Ford Smart Mobility. The new partnership expects to introduce three new utility vehicles, where the first product to spawn out of this new JV will be a C-SUV (next-gen XUV500) which will use an all-new Mahindra platform (jointly developed by Mahindra, Ford and Ssangyong) and engine.
It will be retailed through Mahindra and Ford channels individually, with changes made to distinguish the product for each brand. Ford’s version of this vehicle will have different-looking exteriors and cabin and since the brand is known to focus on the driving aspect, Ford could even tweak the chassis according to its own recipe to preserve the brand’s DNA.
There will be no joint branding on any products spawning out of this JV. To offer products which will satiate the need for green mobility, currently, an Aspire EV is being considered and could use Mahindra’s electric powertrain. It will be used by both companies. Another B-platform will be developed by Ford India to utilise their current capacity and two SUVs will spawn out of this architecture, one of them a Compact example. Upcoming replacement and existing products from Ford could also use small capacity Mahindra engines in the BS-VI era.
The JV will be responsible for growing the Ford brand in India and upcoming products from this partnership will be distributed through existing channels of each brand. A Ford badged car will be sold through Ford dealerships and the same is true for the JV’s Mahindra-badged car. The JV will use Ford’s brand distribution network in emerging export markets to extend support for export of Mahindra vehicles. Sales and marketing will be completely independent for both companies and this new partnership has resulted in no job losses for either of the organisations. Who wants to see a Bronco-like Ford for India based on the next-gen Thar’s platform?