Mahindra and Ford both have a long history of building rough and tumble utes, Ford’s albeit slightly larger expertise compared to Mahindra’s Indian sized ute expertise should ideally spawn a love-child for the record books, but only time will tell. What will be more interesting is the EV born of the partnership an evenue still nascent for both companies.The ever-evolving landscape of the Indian Automotive industry often plays stage for some unlikely partnerships. Take the partnership between Ford and Mahindra for example, a deal that was signed for mutual benefit last year has reached fruition, for the company to jointly develop two new machines, one SUV that is likely to build on Mahindra’s already capable XUV500 and an Electric Vehicle based on the Figo’s platform. From what we hear on the grapevine -- although it is yet to be confirmed -- is the fact that the new SUV born of this alliance will be badged as a Ford and have a Ford body as well. However, the jointly developed platform will be built solely by Mahindra. Considering Ford’s iconic utility vehicle background and Mahindra’s small ute experience, this SUV should have a lot to leave us wanting.
What this is likely to mean is that the next generation Mahindra XUV500 -- which is the one that will follow the recently facelifted car -- will be sharing it’s platform with a Ford SUV that is likely to slot in right next to SUV under the Fortuner. Effectively bridging the gap between the EcoSport and the Ford Endeavour. Eliminating the need for an global model like the Ford Kuga, which has recently been dropped from Focus as Ford’s India operations continue to be a spur new models like the upcoming Ford Freestyle Cross.The other SUV - a compact SUV, speculatively could take on the likes of the Hyundai Creta and the Maruti Vitara 1.4.
One also expects the partnership to see, Mahindra’s Electric prowess brought to Ford Motors who have ambitious EV plans, creating a small electric car the likes of the E20 based on the Figo’s platform. However, it is still unclear of what the resultant vehicle will be in terms of brand.
According to the terms of the MOU, both Mahindra and Ford will cooperate with each other for a period of three years. For Ford, it means access to Mahindra’s already achieved scale, while for Mahindra it means access to Ford’s engineering excellence. Mahindra will also get support in - 'global emerging markets, including Ford's manufacturing and distribution network'. As to whether, this partnership will continue in North America, where both companies work out of Detroit, is still unclear.