Ford and Mahindra Hop Deeper Into Bed; Joint SUVs Planned

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

China got a headstart in the “countries with over a billion people who suddenly love owning a car” race, but India’s trying its best to catch up.

With a growing pool of consumers ready and willing to hand over cash for a car, Ford Motor Company knows partnering with a local company that knows the lay of the land is a speedier and cheaper route to profits, so last year it formed an alliance with Mahindra Group. You know Mahindra — the company currently building a retro Jeep-shaped ATV for nostalgic Americans.

This week, the two companies further consummated their bond by signing off on the joint development of SUVs.

On Thursday, Mahindra and Ford put fresh ink on five non-binding memoranda of understanding (MoU) and promised to put the pedal down on the creation of new utility vehicles for Indian buyers. Those buyers know Ford pretty well. After all, the EcoSport went on sale in the subcontinent years ago. Ford sales in India rose last year, along with exports. The country as a whole set a new-car sales record, pushing above the 4 million vehicle mark in 2017.

Mahindra is no stranger to building SUVs. After all, what rugged Indian doesn’t lust after a rugged Mahindra CJ Thar?

The first vehicle off the shared drawing board is a mid-sized SUV built on a Mahindra platform, Ford claims. Both companies will also look at creating a compact SUV and an electric vehicle together. The alliance goes further than that, however, as Ford and Mahinda also agreed to share powertrains amongst themselves.

Also in the works is a suite of connected car technology to help bring the Indian driver into the 21st century. There’s a large safety component in this initiative, as Indian roads and highways are not famous for strict laws and laid-back driving habits.

“Listening to our customers and incorporating their future needs is the core premise of this collaboration,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s head of global markets, in a statement. “With utility vehicles and electrification as key focus areas, we are glad to see the progress our two companies have made.”

For its help in assisting Ford’s overseas business, Mahindra gets access to the Blue Oval’s manufacturing and distribution network, thus helping the domestic automaker in the export market. This latest phase of the corporate relationship covers a period of three years.

[Image: Ford India]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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3 of 9 comments
  • El scotto El scotto on Mar 24, 2018

    Why not Tata? I was always driven when I was India, in a Land Rover.

  • Phila_DLJ Phila_DLJ on Mar 26, 2018

    Who thought blacking out the A-pillars like that was a good idea. Folks, I tell you it is not.

    • Ect Ect on Mar 26, 2018

      If I'm seeing it right, everything above the beltline is blacked out, including the roof. Your conclusion stands, though.

  • James Hendricks The depreciation on the Turbo S is going to be epic!
  • VoGhost Key phrase: "The EV market has grown." Yup, EV sales are up yet again, contrary to what nearly every article on the topic has been claiming. It's almost as if the press gets 30% of ad revenues from oil companies and legacy ICE OEMs.
  • Leonard Ostrander Daniel J, you are making the assertion. It's up to you to produce the evidence.
  • VoGhost I remember all those years when the brilliant TTAC commenters told me over and over how easy it was for legacy automakers to switch to making EVs, and that Tesla was due to be crushed by them in just a few months.
  • D "smaller vehicles" - sorry, that's way too much common sense! Americans won't go along because clever marketing convinced us our egos need big@ss trucks, which give auto manufacturers the profit margin they want, and everybody feels vulnerable now unless they too have a huge vehicle. Lower speed limits could help, but no politician wants to push that losing policy. We'll just go on building more lanes and driving faster and faster behind our vehicle's tinted privacy glass. Visions of Slim Pickens riding a big black jacked up truck out of a B-52.