Indian auto major Mahindra & Mahindra has officially formed its alliance with the American auto giant Ford after six months of their announcement of planning a joint collaboration. As a part of their formal strategic alliance, Mahindra and Ford has gone ahead announcing that the two companies are planning to co-develop SUV models, electric vehicle models and share engines.
Reports on this new Indo-American auto alliance offer more details. As per the latest reports the newly formed joint venture (JV) among Mahindra and Ford will initially engage in co-developing two SUV models. The JV’s initial projects will also include an electric version of the Ford Aspire subcompact sedan.
However, the big news is that both Mahindra and Ford are concentrating on the increasingly popular compact SUV segment of India. The compact dimensions of the sub-4 meter SUVs not only make them highly city road friendly, but also make them avail tax subsidies meant for small cars, which result in attractive pricing. This is why the subcompact SUV segment is rapidly growing in India and all the car majors are eyeing this segment. Ford, Mahindra and Mahindra’s Korean subsidiary SsangYong are not exceptions and are very eager to make the most of this mini SUV craze in India.
The new JV will be developing a new mini SUV that will be based on either the SsangYong Tivoli (or Mahindra S201) or Ford’s codenamed B763 SUV that is underway. Although based on the same platform, the model will be wearing the Ford and Mahindra badges to come as different vehicle models and will be endowed with the necessary visual changes to mark them apart. These mini SUVs will go up against the like of the highly successful Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza.
However, the new C-SUV from Ford is likely to hit the markets even before the subcompact SUV. The new upcoming big SUV from Ford will be based on Mahindra’s upcoming W601, which is the next generation XUV500. The new platform of the W601 will be co-developed by Mahindra & Mahindra, SsangYong and Ford. This model will be placed above the segment of the Hyundai Creta.
As per the Mahindra-Ford JV agreement, the two companies will share powertrains as well. Thus, the upcoming Ford C-SUV could use Mahindra’s next generation BS-VI compliant 2.0L diesel motor. On the other hand, Mahindra could make the most of Ford’s new Dragon series of petrol engines.
As per the EV alliance, the Ford Aspire electric version will utilize Mahindra's EV division’s technology. The Aspire EV might not be at the cutting-edge of EVs, but it is expected to meet requirements to allow Ford to potentially bid for the government contracts. Indian auto giant Tata Motors managed to beat Mahindra & Mahindra and bag the first tender by from the government owned Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) last year for the supply of 10,000 electric vehicles. Mahindra and its new partner Ford are likely to fight to win the expected coming tender.