Mahindra Ford upcoming SUV platform and powertrain – Agreement signed

Mahindra and Ford have formed an alliance to launch a mid sized SUV in India. Today, the two companies revealed joint statement regarding the same. The release states, “Agreement solidifies the ongoing strategic collaboration between the two companies with a focus on product development for India and emerging markets. New mid-size SUV to be built on a Mahindra product platform and powertrain.”

Dr Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, M&M Ltd. said, “I am happy with the significant progress we have made and synergies we have created since the announcement of our strategic alliance with Ford in 2017. Today’s announcement is another significant step in the collaboration between our two companies. Having identified several areas for joint development, both companies will continue to work together to develop products using common product platforms. This will reduce product development costs and gain economies of scale for both companies.”

“With today’s announcement, we not only strengthen our ongoing partnership with Mahindra but also sharpen our competitiveness in an important emerging market like India,” said Jim Farley, president of Ford New Businesses, Technology & Strategy. “Ford’s technological leadership combined with Mahindra’s successful operating model and product prowess will surely help us deliver a vehicle that will meet the expectations of customers in India as well as other emerging markets.”

Image of Korando SUV for reference.
The new Ford Mahindra SUV will most likely be based on the new gen XUV500 platform. Which is believed to be based on the new Korando SUV (above), that was unveiled last month at the Geneva Motor Show. This will make new gen XUV500 second Mahindra car to be heavily based on a SsangYong product (first being XUV300, which is based on Tivoli). There are also reports that Ford is planning on shutting down independent operations in India. And will only use their plants in India to manufacturer cars for export market – a similar strategy which has been implemented by GM India. Both GM and Ford have been profitable car companies in India. But their profits majorly come from export, and not from domestic sales.

The BS-VI emission norms are set to get implemented in the country from 1st April, 2020, which is almost a year from now. However, this time the government has clarified specifically that sales of all non-BS-VI compliant vehicles shall stop from 1st April, 2020, hence OEMs will have to start production of BS-VI compliant vehicles at least 2 months in advance to ensure that there is no disruption in the supply chain.

One of Mahindra’s most promising engine happens to be the 2.2 litre mHawk diesel motor, which currently powers the Scorpio, XUV500 and the TUV300 Plus. A slightly modified 2.0 litre motor was also launched for sales in select markets (to comply by regulatory norms), however, there was not a significant change in the engine. This engine in its current form is not BS-VI compliant. Hence, Mahindra is working upon a new 2-litre diesel motor which will power majority of its products in the future; including the Mahindra Ford joint SUV.

Downsizing the engine to 2-litre will save it from future trouble, in case Supreme Court/NGT implements a policy against diesel engines which are larger than 2-litre (as they did earlier in NCR due to the pollution related issues). This new engine will be an all-aluminium unit and will be 80 kg lighter compared to the current 2.2-litre mHawk.

The new motor will be available in 3 states of tunes to power different vehicles from Mahindra’s line-up. Current top-of-the-line XUV500 gets the mHawk which churns out 155hp, however the upcoming second generation XUV500 is expected to extract an impressive 185hp from the new motor.

The current Scorpio gets an mHawk where the engine delivers 140hp, however the newer motor will produce 160hp for the SUV. The Thar currently employs an old 2.5-litre 105hp engine however this motor won’t be able to meet the upcoming emission norms. Hence, the new 2-litre motor will power the next-gen Thar as well and will deliver a good 140hp, making the highly capable off-roader even more desirable. The same motor will most be used by Ford as well, thanks to the partnership between Mahindra and Ford. However, the state of tune for Ford’s SUV (will be based on the next-gen XUV500) is currently unknown.

This engine upgrade won’t come free of cost so it is expected that the SUVs powered by this new motor will come with an additional price bump. But then, that should be acceptable as one will be paying the additional sum for not just more powerful engines but cleaner ones as well!