Report: After Sinking Big Bucks Into a Big Market, Ford Finds Someone to Hold Half the Bag

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
report after sinking big bucks into a big market ford finds someone to hold half

In this case, the locale is India — birthplace of the EcoSport and a developing, massively populous market with the potential to make automakers a ton of cash. And yet Ford’s efforts to seize a slice of this pie hasn’t born the fruit the Blue Oval initially hoped. Meanwhile, Ford is in the midst of a major global streamlining effort.

What to do?

Partner up. In this case, with a major Indian automaker — Mahindra & Mahindra, builder of SUVs and ATVs, including the adorable, Jeep-like Roxor.

According to sources who spoke to Bloomberg, Ford plans to put more than half of its Indian assets into a joint venture with Mahindra. Under the deal, Mahindra would own 51 percent of the venture, with both companies having equal voting rights and representation on the board. An announcement could apparently come next week. The sources claim Ford assets not falling under the joint venture include an engine plant and the automaker’s business services division.

Speaking to the Detroit Free Press, a Ford spokesperson would only say the company is “engaged with Mahindra.” The word “engaged,” of course, could mean two things.

It seems Ford’s potential tie-up with Mahindra is going over well with analysts. Unlike Ford’s North American market, the company’s overseas operations have spent years struggling to extricate themselves from a quicksand of red ink, weighing down the automaker’s stock in the process. CEO Jim Hackett’s streamlining plan is as much about boosting investor confidence and reversing the company’s stock slide as it is about firming up the automaker’s financial footing in preparation for an economic downturn.

Autoline‘s John McElroy offered praise for the potential deal, telling Freep that the move would allow Ford to continue its attempts to penetrate the lucrative Indian market while offloading much of the financial burden. What vehicles the two entities might create, and how the duo will juggle production, remains to be seen.

Ford’s take of the Indian market sits at around 3 percent.

Reports of a looming joint venture are not shocking. Ford’s current efforts in India began back in 1995, when the automaker teamed up with, who else, Mahindra to build Escorts for the rapidly growing country. Two years ago, Ford and Mahindra announced their decision to explore a “strategic alliance,” with the main focus being mobility programs, connected vehicle projects, electrification, product development, sourcing and distribution, and global market opportunities for Mahindra.

At the time, the companies said the talks could last up to three years before both sides reached a mutually beneficial decision.

[Image: Ford]

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  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Sep 25, 2019

    If somehow this resulted in a true Mahindra style small truck for USDM I say its a great thing, but somehow I doubt that is the endgame. I think the endgame is even sh!ttier Ecosports for USDM and a chance for Ford to ply its other products in a new market. Supposedly with the VAG tie up Ford is going to be an EV powerhouse so maybe's its related.

    • Ian Ian on Sep 27, 2019

      Mahindra is going to use Ford's supply chain to expand into Africa and Latin America. While absorbing its engineering and product design know-how to standardize its own quality and products. In India, Mahindra's logistics network is massive compared to Ford's and Mahindra's brand has more recognition too.

  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Sep 26, 2019

    Two billion dollars down a rat hole.

    • Ian Ian on Sep 27, 2019

      Two billion dollars used to hand over X-box's and free stero's enticing people to buy a product nobody - not even the people who designed it would want to buy! Ford and GM are old fashioned companies that can't compete in hyper-competitive markets in Asia. They have failed in China, in Europe and almost everywhere except North America because they don't know their customers and they don't care to know them either. If Koreans and Japanese automakers can be profitable and succeed in India - then the question is why can't Detroit ?

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂