Six months after they first announced plans to explore joint collaboration, Mahindra and Ford formalised their strategic alliance earlier this month to co-develop SUVs and electric vehicles, and share engines. Autocar India can now confirm finer details of the alliance. The joint venture will build five all-new SUVs as well as an electric version of the Ford Aspire compact sedan. In addition, there will be collaborations in powertrains too.
Both Ford and Mahindra are focusing on the compact SUV segment with three out of the five new products being less than four metres long. The lure of the SUV body style and attractive pricing (thanks to the lower rate of tax on sub-four-metre cars) explains why this segment is booming in India, and has immense potential to grow further. Like other carmakers, Ford and Mahindra too want to cash in on this ever-expanding demand.
Ford is developing a Vitara Brezza rival (codename: B763) which will lead the line-up, followed by the next-gen Ecosport (codename: B680), scheduled for 2020. Another addition to the range will be Mahindra’s SsangYong Tivoli (codename: S201)-based compact SUV which will also wear a Ford badge. Further up, there will be a Hyundai Creta challenger (codename: B563) to tap the mid-size SUV market, and then Ford’s new C-segment SUV, based on Mahindra’s W601 – essentially the next-generation XUV500 – that will be positioned above Creta. The new W601’s platform will be developed jointly by Mahindra, SsangYong and Ford. However, the models will wear individual ‘top hats’ for their respective makers and will correspondingly be different in look.
An integral part of the alliance is the electric version of the Ford Aspire that will use technology from Mahindra’s EV division, Mahindra Electric. The Aspire EV might not be 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). Tata Motors had won the first tender by EESL for the supply of 10,000 EVs last year, and a fresh tender is expected to be floated soon. Interestingly, Ford’s partner Mahindra was also in the running for the first tender.
The powertrain-sharing aspect of the Mahindra-Ford JV could see Ford’s C-segment SUV use Mahindra’s next-gen BSVI-compliant 2.0-litre diesel, while Ford’s new Dragon petrol engine could be a workhorse for all M&M’s compact models.
At an individual level, Ford will be bolstering its line-up soon with the launch of the Freestyle cross-hatch, while Mahindra is all set to launch an updated version of the current-gen XUV500.
This post originally appeared on autocarindia