Mahindra, Ford Announce Joint Venture For India, Emerging Markets

Mahindra & Mahindra Limited and Ford Motor Company have signed an agreement to create a joint venture that will develop, market and distribute Ford brand vehicles in India. The same will also be done for both vehicle brands in high-growth emerging markets around the world.

The joint venture will see Mahindra owning a 51 per cent controlling stake and Ford owning the remaining 49 per cent. Ford will transfer its India operations to the joint venture, including its personnel and assembly plants in Chennai and Sanand. Ford will retain its engine plant operations in Sanand as well as the Global Business Services unit, Ford Credit and Ford Smart Mobility.

The joint venture is expected to be operational by mid-2020, dependent on regulatory approvals. The joint venture will be operationally managed by Mahindra and will be equally composed of representatives of both companies.

Ford branded vehicles will be distributed through the already established India dealer network and Mahindra will continue to operate its own independent dealer network in India.

“Mahindra and Ford coming together is a testament to the long history of cooperation and mutual respect between the two companies,” said Anand Mahindra, Chairman of Mahindra Group. “Our combined strengths, Mahindra’s expertise in value-focused engineering and its successful operating model, and Ford’s technical expertise, global reach and access to future technology, are a potent recipe for success. At its core, the partnership will be driven by the shared values of both companies, which are focused on caring for our customers, associates and our communities.”

“Ford and Mahindra have a long history of working together, and we are proud to partner with them to grow the Ford brand in India,” said Bill Ford, Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company. “We remain deeply committed to our employees, dealers and suppliers, and this new era of collaboration will allow us to deliver more vehicles to consumers in this important market.”

“At Ford, our purpose for 116 years has always been to drive human progress, and that won’t change,” said Jim Hackett, Ford President and CEO. “But to continue to do that, we need to evolve with new and faster ways of not only delighting our customers around the world but also solving their very different needs. Strong alliances like this play a crucial role in assuring we continue to achieve our vision, while at the same time staying competitive and delivering value to our global stakeholders.”

The joint venture expects to introduce three new utility vehicles under the Ford brand, beginning with a new midsize sports utility, while another area of focus will be electric vehicles.

Exports today form about 7 per cent of Mahindra’s vehicle business revenues and its products are exported to South Africa, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Chile, among other nations and areas.

“Emerging economies including India are expected to account for one in three future vehicle sales,” said Dr. Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra Limited. “The joint venture will have a distinct product portfolio with shared platforms and powertrains, the newest technology, high quality and engineering standards from both Mahindra and Ford, at optimised costs. This winning combination will enable the joint venture to successfully position its vehicles in India, as well as unlock the potential of other highly competitive emerging markets.”

“The creation of this joint venture is a pivotal moment in both our companies’ histories,” said Jim Farley, President of Ford New Businesses, Technology & Strategy. “Strong alliances such as this play a crucial role for Ford to compete profitably in the high-volume, affordable vehicle segments so popular with our diverse customer base. By combining our respective talents, we will offer more vehicles to more customers in more places than ever before and deliver profitable growth to both Ford and Mahindra.”

Ford said its newly established International Markets Group (IMG) business unit brings together 100 high-potential, emerged and emerging markets including India, Australia, the ASEAN, the Middle East, Africa and Russia.

Local ANCAP Audit Test Sees Ford Endura Offer Improved Safety

The 2019 Ford Endura has undertaken an independently verified ANCAP crash test, further cementing its existing five-star safety rating.

The Australian Ford Endura’s standard specification is higher than the European market Edge model that was previously tested, which is what prompted the ANCAP test with an independently purchased vehicle to ensure a genuine representation of a production model available to customers in Australia.

ANCAP has published an updated Technical Report for the 2019 Endura following the test, which has acknowledged an improved audit test score of 94 per cent for Adult Occupant Protection, an increase from 87 per cent.

“The Endura’s advanced safety features and Driver Assist Technology have been fitted as standard specifically for our market, because we know that Australians in this segment demand a high level of assurance, technology and safety when choosing a premium SUV,” said Kay Hart, Ford Australia and New Zealand CEO and President. “ANCAP plays an important role for consumers in understanding the safety levels offered in new vehicles, and we’re pleased that Endura has improved on this in an independently verified audit test by an agency with the highest level of credibility.”

Euro NCAP testing of a different specification model allowed the Endura to be rated as a five-star model when it launched in the latter half of 2018 in Australia. Due to the higher level of standard equipment for every model sold in Australia, ANCAP decided to reassess the vehicle in a further independent audit test.

“Audit testing is a routine and integral part of our test and assessment process, and it is done to provide consumers with assurance that they can rely on ANCAP safety rating information when buying a car,” said James Goodwin, ANCAP CEO.

The audit test is designed to assess the vehicle structure and effectiveness of the restraint system for both the front and rear seat occupants. The test was carried out at Crashlab in Sydney and a brand-new 2019 Ford Endura Trend was used in a full-width frontal crash test scenario.

The results verified the Euro NCAP assessment of five stars, but the additional local analysis caused ANCAP to acknowledge the improved audit test result in its Technical Report as a result of the significant improvement offered by the upgraded restraint system fitted across the entire Endura line-up.

“The Ford Endura was already a five-star rated vehicle when it launched, yet Ford Australia has improved the safety specification of Endura models supplied to our market through the inclusion of seatbelt pre-tensioners for rear [outboard] seats, which sees improved occupant protection for rear seat occupants,” Goodwin said. “The Endura is a vehicle designed and used to transport families, so it’s encouraging to see Ford Australia prioritise the safety of rear seat occupants for our market.”

Every model in the Ford Endura line-up offers, as standard:

  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection
  • Lane Keeping Aid with Lane Keep Assist
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (with Auto Speed Limiter Device)
  • Evasive Steer Assist
  • Traffic Sign Recognition with Intelligent Speed Assist
  • ‘AdvanceTrac’ with Roll Stability Control and Post-Collision Braking
  • Emergency Brake Assist
  • Hill Start Assist
  • ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Traction Control and Post-Collision Braking
  • Seven airbags, including driver and front passenger, side-curtain, side-front and driver knee airbags
  • Seatbelt minder/monitors for all rows
  • SYNC 3 infotainment system with 8.0-inch full-colour touchscreen and voice-activated sat-nav
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility
  • Emergency Assistance
  • Programmable MyKey

Ford also offers the Ford Service Benefits programme which, for the first four years/60,000km (whichever comes first), allows eligible customers to service their Endura for a maximum recommended price of $299 (including GST) per A or B logbook service at participating dealerships.

Ford Ranger Offers Standard AEB With Pedestrian Detection

Ford is now offering the Ranger and Ranger Raptor with standard Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and pedestrian detection as standard across the range. After introducing AEB as standard on the Ranger Wildtrak in late 2018, the technology has been added range-wide as part of a feature update for Ranger models.

“Ranger has a tradition of leading technology, which includes being the first pick-up to achieve a five-star ANCAP safety rating, and in 2018 we added more powertrain choices and significant Driver Assist Technology coupled with a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty,” said Ford Australia and New Zealand President and CEO, Kay Hart. “Now, AEB with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keeping Aid, Traffic Sign Recognition and Automatic High Beam is standard on every Ranger, from the entry-level Ranger XL cab-chassis all the way through to the Ford Performance Ranger Raptor.”

The new technology suite comes with a host of updates for Ranger and Ranger Raptor, which sees a high level of equipment that spans the complete lineup, including cab- chassis models, building on the Ranger’s five-star ANCAP rating.

“The standard inclusion of AEB on the Ford Ranger and Ranger Raptor is great news for ute buyers and other road users,” said ANCAP Chief Executive, James Goodwin. “As one of Australia’s top sellers, having this important safety technology fitted across the Ranger lineup will have a big impact.”

Building on the changes introduced to Ranger in late 2018, which included a twin-turbo, 10-speed powertrain option and new features such as “Semi-Auto Active Park Assist”, HID headlamps, keyless entry and “Tailgate with Lift Assistance”, Ford says the Ranger lineup has never offered such a comprehensive array of technology, driver assist and convenience features.

Volkswagen And Ford Launch Global Alliance

Volkswagen AG and Ford Motor Company announced their first formal agreements in a broad alliance that positions the companies to boost competitiveness and better serve customers in an era of rapid change in the industry.

Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess and Ford CEO Jim Hackett confirmed that the companies intend to develop commercial vans and medium-sized pickups for global markets beginning as early as 2022. The alliance will drive significant scale and efficiencies and enable both companies to share investments in vehicle architectures that deliver distinct capabilities and technologies.

The companies estimate the commercial van and pickup cooperation will yield improved annual pre-tax operating results, starting in 2023.

In addition, Volkswagen and Ford have signed a memorandum of understanding to investigate collaboration on autonomous vehicles, mobility services and electric vehicles. Both companies have started to explore opportunities, and they have also said they were open to considering additional vehicle programmes in the future. The teams will continue working through details in the coming months.

“Over time, this alliance will help both companies create value and meet the needs of our customers and society,” said Hackett. “It will not only drive significant efficiencies and help both companies improve their fitness, but also gives us the opportunity to collaborate on shaping the next era of mobility.”

Diess added: “Volkswagen and Ford will harness our collective resources, innovation capabilities and complementary market positions to even better serve millions of customers around the world. At the same time, the alliance will be a cornerstone for our drive to improve competitiveness.”

The alliance, which does not entail cross-ownership between the two companies, will be governed by a joint committee. This committee will be led by Hackett and Diess along with including senior executives from both companies.

Ford and Volkswagen both have strong commercial van and pickup businesses around the globe, with popular nameplates such as the Ford Transit family and Ranger as well as the Volkswagen Transporter, Caddy and Amarok.

The companies’ collective light commercial vehicle volumes from 2018 totalled approximately 1.2 million units globally, which could represent the industry’s highest-volume collaboration as production scales.

Demand for both medium pickups and commercial vans is expected to grow globally in the next five years. The alliance will enable the companies to share development costs, leverage their respective manufacturing capacity, boost the capability and competitiveness of their vehicles and deliver cost efficiencies, while maintaining distinct brand characteristics.

Through the alliance, Ford will engineer and build medium-sized pickups for both companies which are expected to go to market as early as 2022. For both parties, Ford intends to engineer and build larger commercial vans for European customers, and Volkswagen intends to develop and build a city van.

Phase IV Falcon Breaks Ford Australian Muscle Car Record at Auction

A Ford Falcon GTHO Phase IV has broken the record for a Ford Australian muscle car, selling for A$2 million at auction over the weekend.

The extremely rare, one-of-only-three-in-the-world Ford Falcon GTHO Phase IV achieved A$2 million at Lloyds auction on Saturday night, smashing the previous record price for an Aussie Ford muscle car.

“This was a fantastic result for the classic car market which is growing from strength to strength. The anonymous Australian buyer is extremely excited about owning a piece of iconic Australian history,” said Brett Mudie, Chief Marketing Officer at Lloyds Auctions.

Legendary Bathurst winner Allan Moffat dropped the hammer in a ceremonial event with enthusiastic fans, alongside the auctioneer selling one of Australia’s rarest muscle cars to its new custodian.

“It didn’t surprise me that the car sold for this amount,” continued Mudie. “We were expecting it to smash the last record quite easily, with bidding already at A$1.5 million 3 days before the auction. The Phase IV’s limited number, immaculate condition, celebrity affiliation (with links to Fred Gibson and Allan Moffat) along with its chrome bumper all contributed to the car selling at this price and will underpin its value into the future.

“With the Phase IV and more strong bidding on Phase IIIs over the weekend, it really shows that the market is continuing to strengthen with an opportunity to own an enjoyable investment that seems to be rising in value at a faster rate than property.

“There is a clear trend if you look at the number of records broken over the last six months in particular. The people buying these cars are hard-working Australians looking for a reward but also looking for something to invest in. Cars in original condition, with chrome bumpers, celebrity affiliation or prominent history are the ones that are rising in value first as we have seen again at this auction over the weekend.”

In March this year an A9X Torana SLR 5000 sold for A$365,000, doubling the original record for this type of car. In June Australian cricketer Jeff Thomson’s old Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III was the first of its kind to break A$1 million in a public sale, followed by Peter Brock’s dual Bathurst winner which more recently sold for A$2.1 million.

Ford Creates Autonomous Vehicles Company

Ford Motor Company has announced the creation of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, a new organisation charged with accelerating its autonomous vehicles (AV) business to capitalise on market opportunities.

The new company will include Ford’s self-driving systems integration, AV research and advanced engineering, AV transportation-as-a-service network development, user experience, business strategy and business development teams. The new limited liability company, which is structured to take on third party investment, will be primarily based at Ford’s Corktown campus in Detroit and will hold Ford’s ownership stake in Argo AI, the company’s Pittsburgh-based partner for self-driving system development. Ford expects to invest US$4 billion in its AV efforts through 2023, including its US$1 billion investment in Argo AI.

Sherif Marakby, currently Ford Vice President Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification, will be appointed CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, reporting to a board of directors chaired by Marcy Klevorn, Ford’s Executive Vice President and President, Mobility. Ford says the closer alignment of the self-driving platform and mobility solutions teams will allow faster development of businesses that can thrive in the pre- and post-autonomous vehicle worlds.

“Ford has made tremendous progress across the self-driving value chain – from technology development to business model innovation to user experience,” said Jim Hackett, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company. “Now is the right time to consolidate our autonomous driving platform into one team to best position the business for the opportunities ahead.”

With Marakby’s move, Ted Cannis, Global Director Electrification, will lead Ford’s Team Edison, the team responsible for developing and bringing to market its next-generation of electric vehicles. Team Edison will continue to report to Jim Farley, Executive Vice President and President Global Markets.

Ford’s electric vehicle strategy includes rethinking the ownership experience, including making charging an effortless experience at home and on the road, as well as offering full-vehicle over-the-air software updates to enhance capabilities and features.

In addition, Ford is reorganising its Global Operations division led by Executive Vice President Joe Hinrichs to include Information Technology as well as the company’s global order-to-delivery system, integrating the teams, technologies and processes from both across Ford’s production system. As a result, Jeff Lemmer, Vice President and CIO, will report to Hinrichs.

The realignment will help the company accelerate the integration and application of technology across its industrial system to further streamline manufacturing, speed vehicle delivery times, reduce inventories and improve capital efficiency.

All the changes are effective 1 August.

Ford Australia Launches 2nd Car

Ford Australia announced the launch of 2nd Car, a pilot programme that provides eligible new Ford buyers with affordable access to a second Ford vehicle for up to two weeks during their first two years of vehicle ownership.

The membership programme is a global first for Ford and aims to give consumers a taste of how vehicle ownership and mobility may evolve in the future, with new models for vehicle access, ownership and sharing being explored. Created and piloted in Australia, 2nd Car may be expanded to other markets in the future.

2nd Car is available to new Ranger and Escape customers at participating dealerships across the country. To be eligible for membership, customers must be a Private or Blue Business Fleet buyer purchasing a new or demonstrator vehicle. The Mustang, one of Ford’s most well-known and coveted cars, is the first vehicle available to 2ndCar members for up to two weeks. Drivers must be fully licensed and over 25 years of age to drive the Mustang.

Ford’s long-term goal is to expand the programme, so that the purchase of any new Ford vehicle will enable access to the entire Ford line up.

How 2nd Car works

When purchasing a new car, eligible buyers can sign up for 2nd Car membership at participating dealerships for an enrolment fee of $500 (including GST).

When booking their Mustang, customers will pay an additional fee which varies based on the Ford vehicle purchased, and the length of the loan.

Mustang Loan PeriodRanger OwnersEscape Owners
One week$250$375
Two weeks$500$750

Programme participants can book their 2nd Car vehicle via a dedicated website, https://www.ford.com.au/ford2ndcar/login, similar to a hotel booking website.

The Ford 2nd Car programme offers an affordable way to experience other Ford vehicles, and friends and family can drive the second vehicle for no additional fee provided they meet the driver rules.

More information about Ford 2nd Car is available at https://www.ford.com.au/ford2ndcar.

Ford Returns To Supercars With The Mustang

Ford has confirmed its return to motorsport by announcing its support for DJR Team Penske and Tickford Racing as they prepare to race Ford Mustangs in the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.

“Ford Performance’s diverse line-up of vehicles reflects customer feedback that Australians are looking for advanced, efficient, performance models across all types of vehicles,” said Ford Australia President and CEO, Graeme Whickman. “Ford Performance is about technology, innovation and product performance and to showcase our confidence in our performance range, we are bringing Mustang and the Ranger Raptor to the Supercars series in 2019.”

“We are giving Mustang a proper birthday today, with the Australian unveiling of the new 2018 model and confirming its Australian track-debut with Supercars in 2019,” said Whickman.

The new Ford Mustang will make its Australian track debut at the first round of the Supercars Series in March 2019 at the Adelaide 500. Ford Australia and Ford Performance are working with DJR Team Penske and Tickford Racing in homologation of Mustang for competition next year, as the Supercars Series enables two-door coupes entry into the nation’s most popular series for the first time since its inception in 1997.