Ford and Mahindra & Mahindra are forming a joint venture, valued at $275 million, to develop, market, and distribute Ford-branded vehicles in “high-growth emerging markets around the world.”
Mahindra will own a 51% controlling stake, and Ford will own a 49% stake. The joint venture will be operationally managed by Mahindra, and its governance will be equally composed of representatives of Mahindra and Ford.
Ford has invested more than $2 billion in India since it began operations there in 1995, but the automaker has historically operated independently. It has been in a strategic alliance with Mahindra since 2017. The venture will be operational by the middle of next year.
Under the terms of the deal, Ford will transfer India operations, including its personnel and assembly plants in Chennai and Sanand, into the joint venture. Ford will retain the Ford engine plant operations in Sanand and the Global Business Services units Ford Credit and Ford Smart Mobility.
Ford chief executive officer Jim Hackett said the partnership gave the company a platform to expand in a market such as India, where it wished it had done things differently. “We have other emerging markets where we need to apply the same kind of understanding.”
The companies said they expect to roll out three new utility vehicles under the Ford brand. The first would be a new midsize sports utility vehicle that will have a common Mahindra product platform and powertrain. The joint venture will also focus on electric vehicles and supporting “sustainable mobility” across emerging markets.
“I think it’s a disappointment when I see Ford sitting at the passenger seat, while Mahindra drives, if that will be the arrangement,” said Gaurav Vangaal, an analyst at IHS Markit. “But looking at a global scenario of rapid transformation in powertrains and a shift to electric, this is a better way to mitigate investment risks.”