It has been six months since Mahindra and Ford had first announced plans to explore a joint collaboration. Finally, they have formalized their strategic alliance; and that’s not all, the deal also encompasses their plan to co-develop SUVs, jointly build electric vehicles and even share engines. The joint venture will initially build two SUVs together, with an electric version of the Ford Aspire compact sedan also being a part of the joint activities.
Both the carmakers are focusing on the compact SUV segment. The reason for this segment to be booming in India can be accounted by the appeal of the body style and attractive pricing of SUVs. Industry experts believe that this segment promises immense growth even in the future. Naturally, all the carmakers want to make the most of this ever-expanding segment.
Known as the B-SUV, the joint venture will either use the SsangYong Tivoli or Ford’s own Vitara Breza rival, that is currently being developed. However, Ford’s new C-SUV is likely to make it to showrooms even earlier. It will be based on Mahindra’s never-seen-before W601, essentially the next-generation XUV500.
The new W601’s platform will be developed jointly by Mahindra, SsangYong and Ford.the vehicle will be positioned above the Hyundai Creta. The powertrain-sharing aspect of the Mahindra-Ford JV could see Ford’s C-SUV use Mahindra’s next-gen BS-VI-compliant 2.0-litre diesel. On the other hand, Ford’s new Dragon petrol engine could be a workhorse for all M&M’s compact models.
Think your car deserves a better price than that offer? Sell Your Cars in 72 Hours
The electric version of the Ford Aspire that will use technology from Mahindra’s EV division, Mahindra Electric, is an integral part of the alliance. The Aspire EV might not at the cutting-edge of EVs but it is expected to meet requirements to enable Ford to potentially bid for contracts from the government-owned Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL). The first tender by EESL for the supply of 10,000 EVs last year was won by Tata Motors. A fresh tender is expected to be floated soon. It is interesting to note that Ford’s partner Mahindra was also competing for the first tender.
Ford will also follow up with the next-gen EcoSport, which is scheduled for 2020. Ford’s own Hyundai Creta challenger, earlier designed to take the mid-size SUV market by storm, might be put on hold to prioritize the joint venture.
Ford’s lineup will also soon be bolstered with the launch of the Freestyle cross-hatch, while Mahindra is all set to launch an updated version of the current-gen XUV500.