Ford Motor Company announced Tuesday it has finalized a deal to shift nearly all of its operations in India to a new joint venture. The join venture will be with Mahindra, who Ford has an existing relationship with and will take a majority stake in the joint venture company.
The joint venture will be valued at $275 million, with Mahindra owning a 51-percent stake. The joint venture “will develop, market and distribute Ford brand vehicles in India and Ford brand and Mahindra brand vehicles in high-growth emerging markets around the world.”
As part of the deal Ford will transfer its operations to the new joint venture, including its personnel and two assembly plants in Chennai and Sanand. Ford will retain its engine plant in Sanand and some of its business operations relating to other divisions, such as Ford Credit and Ford Smart Mobility.
Jim Farley, Ford’s president of new businesses, technology and strategy, flew to India for the announcement. He called the development “a pivotal moment in our company’s history.”
“This new joint venture is further going to advance our commitment to India,” Farley said. “It brings a whole new era of collaboration with India. We will fully leverage each other’s strengths.”
Ford confirmed the joint venture will release three new utility vehicles under the Ford brand, including a new midsize utility vehicle that utilizes a Mahindra architecture and powertrains. The two automakers additionally plan to collaborate on electric vehicles in the future.
This joint venture is part of Ford CEO Jim Hackett’s broader $11 billion restructuring plan for the global automaker. In recent years Ford has sunk about $2 billion into its India operations and still only has about three-percent market share in the country.
Shifting its operations to this joint venture will get a huge negative off of Ford’s balance sheet, which should please investors.
Mahindra is the largest producer of utility vehicles in India. Ford and Mahindra say their joint venture could produce vehicles for other developing nations in the future as well.