Ford may be in advanced talks with a potential strategic partner in India. Reports indicate that the Mahindra & Mahindra Limited auto manufacturing company might be interested in a partnership with Ford. Ford wants to build market share in what will soon be the world’s third largest market on the planet. The companies are looking to join forces on electric vehicles, sourcing, suppliers, mobility, and connected car platforms. This is a major commitment to the Indian market after the Ford Motor Company forced out its previous CEO, Mark Fields, in May. Fields had second thoughts about getting into the Indian market and had stated that it was going to halt sales. His successor, Jim Hackett, has quickly found a way to stay in the market and relieve some cost pressures as well. This move is being seen by some as an indication of the company’s direction ahead of the CEO’s scheduled strategy presentation to investors next month.
The Indian market for autos is in the $30 billion a year range and will place it comfortably in third place behind China and the United States before 2020. This market opportunity has all the major players scrambling to try and get into the marketplace before the demand boom picks up. Automakers like Ford want to curtail the gains that Suzuki and Hyundai have made in this market. Ford has been in the Indian market, in one way or the other, since the early 1990s and is re-committing itself to the country. The manufacturer notes that it has already invested over $2 billion in India on plants and manufacturing facilities and sees itself continuing to do so in the future.