Mahindra looks to procure Ford’s platform to build electric sedan
Oct 09 2017  Amrit Raj

Mahindra, on its part, will share its affordable electric vehicle
technologies with Ford, which the latter plans to use in cars such as Figo
and Aspire

[image]  Mahindra and Mahindra MD Pawan Goenka, along with his colleagues at
Mahindra Electric, has inspected Ford’s electric vehicle platform while
signing off on a partnership with the US carmaker in September. Photo:
Hemant Mishra/Mint

New Delhi: Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd is in early talks with its partner Ford
Motor Co. to procure a vehicle platform on which the Mumbai-based company
aims to build an all new electric sedan, two people with direct knowledge of
the matter said.

In lieu of this platform, Mahindra will share its affordable electric
vehicle technologies with Ford, which the American company plans to use in
its entry-level cars such as Figo and Aspire, these people said on condition
of anonymity. Ford in India has developed a platform Ka, on which it has
built cars such as hatchback Figo and sub-4 metre sedan. Ka+ is a larger
derivative of Ka.

“Pawan Goenka, along with his colleagues at Mahindra Electric, has inspected
the platform while signing off on a partnership with Ford in September,” one
of the people cited above said, requesting anonymity. Pawan Goenka is the
managing director of Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd.

“Ford will get electric technology of Mahindra. So far, that’s the only
point of discussion in that direction,” the person added.

A Mahindra spokesperson declined to comment on the story while a Ford
spokesperson said that it is “too early to discuss” at this point.

Both the companies on 19 September said that they were exploring a strategic
alliance to leverage each other’s strengths to address rapidly emerging
challenges in the global automobile industry. The agreement between the two
companies will allow them to combine their mutual strengths during a period
of unprecedented transformation in the automobile industry, the companies
said in a joint statement. The areas of potential cooperation include
mobility programmes, connected vehicle projects, electrification, product
development, sourcing and commercial efficiencies, distribution within India
to improve Ford’s reach and into global emerging markets to scale up
Mahindra’s network.

The second person aware of the matter said that both the companies have
started to work towards putting in place teams, which will work closely in
these areas.

The partnership seems to be on equal terms, with the Indian firm gaining
from Ford’s advanced technologies and global network and the Bill Ford-led
American automaker getting a stronger and bigger footprint in the lucrative
Indian market. India is expected to become the second-largest passenger
vehicle market by 2026 with annual volume of 13.4 million units per year (if
the local economy grows at an annual pace of 7.5%), according to the Indian

While Mahindra will look for Ford’s support in markets such as Russia and
South Africa, its immediate priority will be the electric vehicle space,
which it wants to dominate after having “first mover’s advantage”, said an
industry expert.

“If the recent EESL (Energy Efficiency Services Ltd) bids are anything to go
by, it is clear that other companies have already woken up to the
phenomenon. The race towards electric mobility will depend on variety and
affordability that a company brings to the table,” the expert said,
requesting anonymity.

Mahindra lost out to its rival Tata Motors Ltd for a government contract of
500 electric vehicles but later said it will match the lowest bid of Rs10.16
lakh per vehicle made by Tata Motors Ltd as it wanted to be part of the
government’s electric mobility mission. Its own bid was Rs2.3 lakh higher
per vehicle. Mahindra will lose about Rs3 crore on the 150 electric sedans
that it will supply to the government.

The government contract (state-owned EESL is buying on behalf of government)
for 10,000 vehicles in multiple phases could be too small for sales growth
of any company but the frenetic action around it has kick-started the
electric mobility in the country.
[© 2017 HT Media]

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