Mahindra & Ford to co-develop SUVs, small electric vehicle

Mahindra Group and Ford Motor Company will jointly develop new SUVs, and a small electric vehicle as part of several initiatives announced today between the two companies.

The two companies signed five new memoranda of understanding (MoU) that they said will further strengthen their strategic alliance and accelerate the development of key products for consumers in India and emerging markets.

“The MoUs, which are non-binding, mark the progress made by the two companies since announcing their alliance in September 2017,” Mahindra & Mahindra, India’s largest SUV maker and electric car maker, said.

Under the initiatives, Mahindra and Ford will leverage their strengths in the utility vehicle space to co-develop a midsize sports utility vehicle (C-SUV). Built on the Mahindra platform, the new SUV will drive engineering and commercial efficiencies and will be sold independently by both companies as separate brands, it said.

At present, Ford has a rather successful SUV in India by the name of Ecosport, which competes with a range of offerings from Mahindra & Mahindra, including the TUV300.

Mahindra and Ford also agreed to evaluate co-development of a compact SUV and an electric vehicle, along with sharing powertrain portfolios, including the supply of Mahindra powertrains to extend Ford’s product range.

They also have plans to co-develop a suite of connected car solutions for consumers, the Indian company said.

The announcements in the electric vehicle segment is on the lines of several such tie-ups between automakers across the world.

The rapidly evolving segment requires companies to pool their resources and know-how to save costs and cut development time. India is one of the world’s most aggressive countries in terms of its planned transition from fossil fuel-powered vehicles to electric vehicles. The country plans to phase out the sales of fossil-fuel powered vehicles by 2030.

“Today’s announcement is the next step in the collaboration between Mahindra and Ford,” said Dr Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd.

“Both teams are working together on joint development areas in keeping with industry requirements and leveraging mutual strengths. We are excited about the synergies unveiled through this collaboration and the potential opportunities it will bring.”

The partnership will tap into Ford’s global reach and expertise and Mahindra’s scale in India and its successful operating model, the companies said.

Teams from both companies will continue to collaborate and work together, for a period of up to three years.

They will try to explore more areas of cooperation, including extending support for Mahindra in global emerging markets, including Ford’s manufacturing and distribution network.

Mahindra is India’s largest maker of electric cars, thanks to its E2o model.

It also owns a majority stake in Ssangyong Motor Company in Korea, has forayed into the shared mobility space with investments in ridesharing platforms in the U.S.. It is also developing products like the Genze – the world’s first electric connected scooter.

Ford was among the first global automakers to enter India in 1995. Now one of the largest exporters of cars from the country, Ford manufactures and exports vehicles and engines from its manufacturing facilities in Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Sanand, Gujarat.

India is also the secondlargest Ford employee base globally, with more than 14,000 people working across the Ford India and its Global Business Services operations in New Delhi, Chennai, and Coimbatore.