How about a Mahindra XUV500 badged as a Ford in India? Well, this is something Ford India seems to be planning, but with the next-generation XUV500, currently code-named the W601. Mahindra and Ford are said to be hammering out the final details of a joint-venture that’ll involve both automakers sharing platforms and technology.
While Ford will offer the B562 (Figo/Aspire) platform to Mahindra for electrification, Mahindra in-turn will offer the new XUV (W601) platform for a brand new C-SUV from Ford. Exact details of the Ford-Mahindra collaboration are expected to be revealed in about 10 days from now.
The new XUV500 platform will allow Ford to build a C-SUV that rivals the Jeep Compass and Hyundai Tucson. Months ago, news about Ford bringing the Kuga to India surfaced. Now though, that plan may be modified to include a XUV500-based SUV instead. This will allow Ford to bring a new SUV to the market at minimal cost, and also at a much faster pace. The new SUV could be on Indian roads within the next 2-3 years.
We’ll need to wait for more details to know if Ford would badge-engineer the next-gen Mahindra XUV500 or just use the platform for an all-new Ford SUV. It’s not the first time that car makers are using the badge-engineering route in the Indian market. Volkswagen sells the Vento sedan, which Skoda has badge-engineered into the Rapid. Similarly, the Renault Duster-based Nissan Terrano is a badge engineered SUV.
Even if Ford decides to just use the new platform of the XUV500 so that it can access parts and vendors at a lower cost, it’ll help the American automaker make better profits in India. Ford is said to be working on ways to reduce part costs. Here’s an unnamed source close to the developments talking to ETAuto,
The intent is to come out with these projects in a much faster timeframe than working on products or projects independently. These projects are likely to hit the road in the coming two to three years. At Ford, the belief is that the cost structure of Mahindra is a significant 12-14% lower than at Ford. The company already has got access to the cost structure at the vendors’ end and have requested them to come out with ways on which Ford can source parts at lower cost. One can understand if a specifically engineered part could cost higher, but how can some of commodity parts pricing be higher?