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Old 11th April 2019, 11:55   #136
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Default re: Ford to end independent operations in India; will hold 49% in JV with Mahindra

Sad news for any ford fan but I do see a bit of a pattern here; Ford pulls out at the last minute, they did a similar thing with Jag and land rover, a new lineup was ready the brands were making a comeback and Ford sold them to Tata motors, again similar situation was with the Aston Martin brand they invested a lot to get a new models ready and sold them off just before they became huge hits.

It seems like the same case for Ford India, yes they took a long time to make a turn around but they did do it, finally the product, service were complimenting each other. I really think a few more years and Ford India could made it much bigger.

While there is impending competition from Kia and MG, it's not always necessary that they will taste success immediately or be a direct threat to Ford
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Old 11th April 2019, 12:24   #137
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Default re: Ford to end independent operations in India; will hold 49% in JV with Mahindra

Ford India shares the following via email:

Quote:
While we do not comment on speculation, Ford has no intention to exit India. Ford has a strong brand, customer and dealer presence in India. Using this as a foundation, we are working to expand our product portfolio and tailor these new offerings to expand volume in India. We are confident that our success in India will enable us to unlock the value of other emerging markets, as well. We continue to work with Mahindra to develop avenues of strategic cooperation that help us achieve commercial, manufacturing and business efficiencies.
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Old 11th April 2019, 12:29   #138
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Default re: Ford to end independent operations in India; will hold 49% in JV with Mahindra

^ "we are working to expand our product portfolio"

I wonder if they're counting services such as their "Office Ride" app-based office commute service as being part of their overall Product & Services portfolio. "Office Ride" remains very much a Ford initiative which is open to anyone who needs a convenient office commute, even though it was initially launched for the benefit of Ford India's employees alone.
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Old 11th April 2019, 13:13   #139
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Default re: Ford to end independent operations in India; will hold 49% in JV with Mahindra

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Ford India shares the following via email:
Consistently amazed how corporate double-speak from Corporate Communications always manages to make it seem the exactl opposite of ground reality

Success in India?
With a 3-4% market share after some 20 years?

New products?
Where? They really need to build out their current offerings of which only the Endeavour is anyway near top-of-the-mind recall. How long will they flog the EcoSport or the 1.5D engine?
Where is the new Fiesta, the Mondeo and the Escape? You only need to look at the OZ RHD market where they have tropicalized vehicles ready to make in IN with only minor homologation changes.

Ford EV & hybrids?
Where are they?

Last edited by itwasntme : 11th April 2019 at 13:15.
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Old 11th April 2019, 13:13   #140
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Default re: Ford to end independent operations in India; will hold 49% in JV with Mahindra

Talking strictly from an marketing perspective, I think Ford screwed up the 2000s. Daewoo went bust, Hindustan and Premier went into oblivion, Hyundai was unknown, Skoda were sniffing, Tata had just entered passenger car market. Maruti Suzuki was the undisputed champion of this mass people market until 1998 and 1999. Opel and Honda were being passive in updating their portfolio.

It was a time when Ford could have captured the Indian market with their Fiesta and Focus. The 1999 Fiesta and 2001 Focus, for all their bummer looks, were impeccable cars. My neighbour here still drives the 99 Fiesta and he says that it still manages to give him 21 kmpl in the city. The Focus, which was originally an Escort replacement, could have done the same to the Indian market. The first generation Focus was based on the Ghia design which was the basis of Ford design for the next decade or so. I think the Mondeo was also based on the Ghia design philosophy.

Given the resources they had at their disposal, they could have taken the market share from Hyundai. Ford's failure to capture the Indian car market, made sunshine for Hyundai's and Maruti Suzuki's hay. Good for them I guess.

I would loved for the original Fiesta and Focus to come to India. I know they would have succeeded massively - small yet spacious, cheap to maintain, fuel efficient hatchbacks. Focus was a lot sporty as well. I feel sorry for Ford. But they bought this upon themselves.
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Old 11th April 2019, 14:37   #141
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Default re: Ford to end independent operations in India; will hold 49% in JV with Mahindra

Sorry Ford, cannot digest your commitment letter without a pinch of salt.

Whom this news hurts most are the current customers, especially the very recent ones and those who intend to keep their Fords for long. Ford invited us to "Feel like family, for a change" and now they are walking out and handing over their operations to Mahindra whose service is nothing to write home about, atleast in my place and nearby.

This is much unlike the customers of GM, HM, Fiat, etc, because those companies were on the verge of exit for a long period making losses. With the case of Ford, no buyer might have even dreamt this coming, till now.
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Old 11th April 2019, 14:50   #142
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Default re: Ford to end independent operations in India; will hold 49% in JV with Mahindra

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Originally Posted by VaidhiR View Post
Given the resources they had at their disposal, they could have taken the market share from Hyundai. Ford's failure to capture the Indian car market, made sunshine for Hyundai's and Maruti Suzuki's hay. Good for them I guess.

I would loved for the original Fiesta and Focus to come to India. I know they would have succeeded massively - small yet spacious, cheap to maintain, fuel efficient hatchbacks. Focus was a lot sporty as well. I feel sorry for Ford. But they bought this upon themselves.
The Fiesta did come to India. Complimented with some beautiful engines, a spacious interior - it was sold as the Ikon.
However Ford's misery started with the Escort and then the Fiesta - where spares were expensive compared to it's competitors, and FE wasn't the best either.
While Ford did take this to task and the next generation Fiesta when launched tackled a lot of these myths - but sadly, our market isn't as forgiving and by then Hyundai had taken the mantle.

What also helped Hyundai is the success of the Santro. Ford unfortunately had no strong and well priced hatch back at the time. The Fiesta could have been an option, but it would have still been over priced.

As for the Focus, it was a vehicle I admired a lot, but it would have been a new segment at that time - where competition would have included reputed Toyota Corolla, and the well respected Octavia.

Coming back to the topic - I am still split over this news. On one hand, a while Ford made a big hue and cry over their One Ford policy (I could be wrong on the name), where they were to launch their international portfolio in India rather than developing all new models for India and other developing nations, this news is the complete opposite. To be fair, the strategy implementation was quite flawed too with the EcoSport and Figo being exported to other countries, rather than it being the other way where we get access to better vehicles.
While I respect the strides Mahindra has made with their vehicles over time, I am not sure if they are the right strategic partner for Ford - after all, both Mahindra and Ford are reliant on their SUV & UV sales while their sedans haven't done as well - whatever be the reason. In my opinion, it may have been better to partner with a company where each company's portfolio complements the others rather than competing with it.

Last edited by lamborghini : 11th April 2019 at 14:54.
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Old 11th April 2019, 15:34   #143
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Default re: Ford to end independent operations in India; will hold 49% in JV with Mahindra

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Originally Posted by lamborghini View Post
The Fiesta did come to India. Complimented with some beautiful engines, a spacious interior - it was sold as the Ikon.
Ford Ikon was based on the generation-4 Fiesta if I am not wrong. And this was at a time when internationally, the generation-5 was getting sold. So customers, who had access to Internet were able to see this and question Ford's logic in wanting to sell the outdated generation in India. And then the hatchback version of the generation-5 Fiesta was sold as the Figo. And the Ikon was discontinued when BS-4 came into effect.

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Originally Posted by lamborghini View Post
While Ford did take this to task and the next generation Fiesta when launched tackled a lot of these myths - but sadly, our market isn't as forgiving and by then Hyundai had taken the mantle.

What also helped Hyundai is the success of the Santro. Ford unfortunately had no strong and well priced hatch back at the time. The Fiesta could have been an option, but it would have still been over priced.
Hyundai was massively helped by the Maruti Suzuki monopoly. Maruti Suzuki, for all its affordability, was an Indian brand. Hyundai, for all its unknown stature, was an International brand. So Hyundai played their cards easily because there was little competition back then - which was massively helped by Ford's reluctance/ignorance/lethargy/stupidity to give the Indian market what it desperately craved back then.

The point I am trying to make is, for a car wanting to succeed in an emerging market, they were passive, naive and ignorant to the needs of the Indian customer. They had the resources to make it cheap. They had the ability to grab some percentage share off Hyundai. They didnt act upon it. And are paying the price now.

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Originally Posted by lamborghini View Post
In my opinion, it may have been better to partner with a company where each company's portfolio complements the others rather than competing with it.
I think thats the idea now. Ford concentrates on Passenger car. Mahindra focusses on UVs. Atleast now, I hope Ford realises their blunder and comes up with a solution that helps the Indian consumers.

I do have a soft corner for Ford and probably that is why I am ranting my frustrations here at them. The same way I have a soft corner for Tata. But thats for another thread and some other time I guess.
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Old 11th April 2019, 16:09   #144
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Default re: Ford to end independent operations in India; will hold 49% in JV with Mahindra

Quote:
Originally Posted by VaidhiR View Post
Ford Ikon was based on the generation-4 Fiesta if I am not wrong. And this was at a time when internationally, the generation-5 was getting sold. So customers, who had access to Internet were able to see this and question Ford's logic in wanting to sell the outdated generation in India. And then the hatchback version of the generation-5 Fiesta was sold as the Figo. And the Ikon was discontinued when BS-4 came into effect.

Hyundai was massively helped by the Maruti Suzuki monopoly. Maruti Suzuki, for all its affordability, was an Indian brand. Hyundai, for all its unknown stature, was an International brand. So Hyundai played their cards easily because there was little competition back then - which was massively helped by Ford's reluctance/ignorance/lethargy/stupidity to give the Indian market what it desperately craved back then.

The point I am trying to make is, for a car wanting to succeed in an emerging market, they were passive, naive and ignorant to the needs of the Indian customer. They had the resources to make it cheap. They had the ability to grab some percentage share off Hyundai. They didnt act upon it. And are paying the price now.

I think thats the idea now. Ford concentrates on Passenger car. Mahindra focusses on UVs.
At the risk of going further off topic, just wanted to throw some views on this.

Similar to you, I have had a soft spot for Ford too - we've had two Ikons, and a Fiesta in the family. Also have recommended the Mondeo to several relatives - who picked them up.

That being said - the Ikon when launched was the facelifted version of the Fiesta being sold internationally - the next generation came in 2002 globally, whereas the Ikon was launched in 99-00 in India. In fact, other car makers had outdated variants - but the customer's didn't do much research otherwise they would have stuck to Ford over Hyundai (which at the time was under a lot of fire in developed markets like the USA).
By the time the Ikon was discontinued - the Fiesta had taken over it's mantle, and it was only logical to discontinue it - especially with the new Fiesta on it's way to our shores.

Hyundai managed to jump on the opportunity solely due to the presence of the Santro - Ford, on the other hand had nothing to compete with the Santro except for the dinky Ka, which is really another market segment altogether IMO.
The Santro, SRK Charm, and then the Accent - which was considered to be better looking and easier to drive than the Ford (as an owner of two ford Ikon's at the time, there were some heated debates with friends who owned Accents).

That being said - yes, better marketing could have saved Ford back then, especially if they launched maintenance plans / longer warranty period (similar to Hyundai in the USA) - because on one hand there was well priced, new to the market Hyundai v/s Ford - who started their India innings with the Escort which wasn't an epitome of reliability and cheap to maintain compared to it's core rivals - City & Lancer.

Also, Ford focusing on sedans in India should be taken with a pinch of salt, as globally they are going to give more priority to SUVs, and in India - they are developing an SUV based on the next generation Mahindra XUV500.
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Old 11th April 2019, 16:39   #145
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Default re: Ford to end independent operations in India; will hold 49% in JV with Mahindra

I have always loved Ford cars along with Fiat, Skoda and other europian brands, so i am sad to see them exit / prepare to exit one by one. But, what can they do about it? We are a herd like society which doesnt give any chance / faith to the quality products and there by making them even more difficult to survive.

I really think that this is a wrong decision from Ford India if they really want to have presence in this country because of the following reasons:

1. As i see, a JV with Mahindra is mostly going to be a nightmare just like the Tata - Fiat. I bought and owned the Palio Stile 1.6 during Tata - Fiat JV and i know that the sales and service for Fiat owners was a real nightmare which i survived purely due to the mechanical simplicity and love for that car. Later on when Fiat made sales and service independent, i bought a Punto and the buying / ownership experience was really acceptable atleast here in Pune. So, I wont be the one (and there are many more like myself) who will take chances on this Ford - Mahindra JV now.
2. Ford really has great products and when priced right, they have made decent sales numbers and would have continued to do so because there arent many choices for enthusiasts in the mass market now especially for the buyers who fall for build quality and ride-handling set up in the car. In fact we see a rising trend among buyers for global quality cars since past few years now. But, I am not optimistic about the future sales numbers even for their current best sellers with this JV.
3. Unlike other 'non - maruti, hyundai, toyota, honda' brands, Ford actually had a good after sales service as per feedback from my friends and relatives especially since last few years.

I am currently in a decision making process for a 7 seater SUV/MUV to be bought in next few months and my shortlist is Endeavour 3.2, Hexa XTA, Isuzu MU-X in that order of preference. These are the only vehicles with tough underpinnings which satisfy my primary requirements of build quality, space - comfort, ride-handling set up and stock ICE. But, with this new development(?) I wont consider Endeavour now as i dont want to risk my 40 L like I did with Tata - Fiat JV

So, I think they really had a good chance here with our market maturing slowly. But with this new policy I am sure even enthusiasts will back off now.

Last edited by 46TheDoctor : 11th April 2019 at 16:46.
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Old 11th April 2019, 21:51   #146
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Default re: Ford to end independent operations in India; will hold 49% in JV with Mahindra

I am saddened to read this and pray Ford doesn't exit India. And they continue to make some "real Ford" cars even though marketed as Mahindra! I couldn't care less what name or badge is on the product as long as it puts a smile on my face.

My first car was a Swift and Ford didn't have anything in the segment when I bought it (Swift). When I grew more knowledgeable about cars, I realized that there is more to cars than FE and cheap service / parts costs - I was overwhelmed with the build of Fiesta when I visited a Ford showroom. My eyes popped out when I felt the weight of the door Vs a Swift's. When I drove the Fiesta, the feeling of surprise became RESPECT for the brand for building cars which connects to the heart and I thought I should buy a Ford next. When I rode with bhpian hserus for a weekend in his Fiesta, the joy doubled - I knew what I missed in the Swift for so long.

And sadly, Ford stopped Fiesta and watered down the new Figo. My mind jumped with joy when they launched Figo S and sadly that went off too. Every time I see this video from PowerDrift, the end of the video makes my eyes moist. Watch that particular piece here please (Starts from 8:40s) - am not able to link to the correct point.

I also had the fortune of visiting the Ford factory in Chennai, meet the Ford MD, Mr. Anurag and drive the Endeavor in an off-road experience. The respect has only grown further for the brand and it's products.


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Old 11th April 2019, 22:23   #147
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Originally Posted by 46TheDoctor View Post
I )

I am currently in a decision making process for a 7 seater SUV/MUV to be bought in next few months and my shortlist is Endeavour 3.2, Hexa XTA, Isuzu MU-X in that order of preference. These are the only vehicles with tough underpinnings which satisfy my primary requirements of build quality, space - comfort, ride-handling set up and stock ICE. But, with this new development(?) I wont consider Endeavour now as i dont want to risk my 40 L like I did with Tata - Fiat JV

.
Well summarised 46doctor.!

Brutally competitive markets, company strategies and in some cases , sheer survival instinct has forced the hand of many a maker to collaborate, swap badges, cross trade/share or enter into a JV.

The companies might be benefitting with the shared r&d, platforms etc and survive longer with the symbiosis or sustain a bit more in life support.

As buyers, we might even see few spinoffs that are better alternatives to the status quo born out of the merits of the marriage., If the offspring inherits the strengths of either partner. In certain cases such mergers in the past was the only way we could continue to enjoy some beautiful cars that would have been lost into oblivion otherwise.

But, I have a third angle. These mergers, as inevitable as they may have become not only in India but also globally, result in a loss of individuality of the brand in some sense. Each brand has a core value which we identify and adore. That is the soul of the brand and such mergers whip that very soul into a lukewarm middle.

The other point is when you are looking for an upgrade, among other factors, one might desire to also climb the brand ladder. Not the price ladder but the perceived brand value. In some combinations, such jv's diminish that for the perceived higher badge.(not in this ford's particular case, only generally speaking)

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Old 11th April 2019, 23:12   #148
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Default re: Ford to end independent operations in India; will hold 49% in JV with Mahindra

This is surprising news to me, specially in the current scenario. Previously Ford had always been one car company. Once they used to sell only Figo. Then it was Ecosport's turn. But now most of their cars are doing well in their respective segments. Last month Ford sold 8271 cars which was just after Toyota in the chart and way more than VW, Nissan Skoda and the likes. Ecosport sold 4241 units which is a decent number and actually more than Xuv500, Marazzo etc. Figo family is around 3k units a month. Endeavour being a luxury suv is doing well albeit losing to Fortuner. If they had to leave because of their not so profitable operations here, they could've done that five years ago.

I think this decision has more to do with the upcoming regulations and other policy norms than market share. They probably don't want to invest big in EVs which the govt. is so bragging about. Toyota might discontinue Corolla, one of their statement products in India. This way we will lose most of the global and trustworthy cars from our market and will be left with these Swifts and Balenos which have inferior build quality compared to an auto rickshaw. Probably that's what most of the Indians want (no offence intended). Kind of herd mentality. But those few exceptions like us who want a car that will feel solidly built, a car that will give sheer driving pleasure, a car that's not cheaply built just to make repairing cheaper, will have not many options a couple of years down the line. Again I know Ford is not leaving but they are just keeping their doors open. The Indian car scene is not looking good at the moment.

Last edited by Carpainter : 11th April 2019 at 23:16.
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Old 11th April 2019, 23:23   #149
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Default re: Ford to end independent operations in India; will hold 49% in JV with Mahindra

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Last month Ford sold 8271 cars which was just after Toyota in the chart and way more than VW, Nissan Skoda and the likes.
Every month Ford India sells 8k-9k units domestically and exports 15k-20k units.That is a total of more than 25k units per month.

That makes it the 3rd largest car manufacturer in india after maruti and Hyundai , if I am not mistaken.Yes, it is in the 7th spot, if you take domestic sales alone.

Even then, it can't be the case that ford india operations are unviable. I guess they have decided to move their focus to other markets, especially in the light of massive changes that is happening in the auto industry (and these changes require massive investments, and that means each auto company has to make trade-offs on where to invest and where not to invest)

Having owned a Ford car for 12 years now , i can't help shedding a tear at this news.

Last edited by PYSO : 11th April 2019 at 23:29.
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Old 12th April 2019, 00:08   #150
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Default re: Ford to end independent operations in India; will hold 49% in JV with Mahindra

I feel that the damage has already been done. Prospective customers all over the social media have become tepid.

What Ford should ideally do now is act real quick. Make the merger fast, don't wait for the whole 90 days and lose volumes which you won't be able to recover later. Or announce new products for India and launch them at the earliest. Not much use writing "working to expand our product portfolio" letters. Show your commitment rather than repeatedly stating it.
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