Ahmedabad: Mahindra and Ford have agreed to jointly develop new products and connected car solutions within six months of the official announcement of exploring a strategic alliance. The first outcome of this partnership will be a midsize SUV based on a Mahindra platform. The carmakers are also evaluating the development of a compact SUV which will, in all likelihood, sit one rung below the midsize SUV to rival the likes of the Hyundai Creta and the Renault Duster. A small electric car is also under consideration.
The Mahindra platform that will underpin the new midsize Ford SUV could be the one on which the next-gen XUV5OO will be based. This new platform is being developed by Mahindra and SsangYong. The XUV will soon get a cosmetic makeover in India and we believe that this should be the final update to the aging SUV before its next generation arrives before 2020. We expect the midsize SUV from Ford to hit the market around the same time.
While both the carmakers will develop an SUV on the same platform, the final products might cater to completely different buyer sets. The second-gen XUV5OO might continue to sport a 7-seat cabin layout like the first-gen model that is currently on sale in India. Ford, on the other hand, might develop a 5-seater SUV to rival the Jeep Compass. In its current SUV lineup, Ford has a big gap between the sub-4m EcoSport and full-size Endeavour SUV. The new midsize SUV could be positioned somewhere in between.
Apart from sharing the platform, Mahindra will supply its powertrains to Ford under this alliance. In return, Ford will support Mahindra with its manufacturing and distribution network in global emerging markets.