As we know that Ford has not been doing well in the Indian market for quite some time now. According to the reports, they have now decided to decrease the production on models like Figo, Freestyle, Aspire etc. Ford will only retain their Sanand plant and it will operate on less than 10 percent capacity. This plant produces engines and is located in Gujrat. The Chennai plant will continue to manufacture till 2022 to complete pending orders. Ford will continue to service their existing products and now will only sell products like Mustang and other CKD products in India.
The accumulated loss was close to $2 billion and the sales were already falling. Then the joint venture between Ford and Mahindra broke last year. The American manufacturer relied a bit too much on the joint venture. They did not have any new products for India and as we know all their current products feel aged when compared to any of the rivals. The Ecosport is the oldest in the segment and the same goes for the Figo and Aspire. The Endeavour might have got a facelift, but it does not sell in huge numbers that can sustain the company.
Also, Ford did not have any contingency plan in case things went wrong with Mahindra. Well, that is what happened here. Both the manufacturers were planning to make seven new vehicles out of which three would have been SUVs. The manufacturers were working on a compact SUV, a mid-size SUV and a C-SUV. The compact SUV was codenamed B744, the mid-size SUV would have measured 4.3-metres in length and was codenamed B772. It would have been offered in a front-wheel-drive configuration and all-wheel-drive configuration. Mahindra would have called it the XUV400 and it would slot right between the XUV300 compact SUV and XUV700. The SUV could have used the 1.5-litre mStallion engine.
Then there was the C-SUV which would have been based on the W601 platform that we just saw on the Mahindra XUV700. Ford codenamed it CX757. Ford would have launched the new SUV after eight to nine months of Mahindra XUV700’s launch. The engines would have been the same as the XUV700.
Ford’s vehicles would have been designed by Pininfarina, which itself is owned by Mahindra. Ford was also supposed to use the 1.2-litre mStallion petrol engine for the Ecosport. The 1.2-litre mStallion unit was showcased at the Auto Expo 2020 and is developed by Mahindra.
Ford has tried to find a partner by approaching other automobile manufacturers. They have spoken to Ola, Skoda Auto, MG and even Tata Motors but no one is interested. The production from the production plants dropped to just 80,000 units, whereas the total production capacity of the plants is 4 lakh units. Also, half of these 80,000 units are exported.
Ford recently launched the Figo AT in the Indian market. The facelift of the Ecosport is all set to launch in the festive season. Recently, a Bi-turbo version of the Endeavour was also spotted with an emission testing kit. As of now, we do not know what will happen to these vehicles. We would just have to wait for Ford to officially announce their future.