In a shift that reshapes Ford Motor Co’s relationship with India, one of the largest and fastest-growing car markets in the world, the automaker has decided to "transfer most of its assets in India to a joint venture with Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.," sources with knowledge of the deal told Bloomberg.
Ford confirmed to the Free Press it is "engaged with Mahindra."
Mahindra, which is India’s largest utility vehicle maker and has a tech center in Auburn Hills, "will own 51% of the new entity," Bloomberg reported, noting the plan is still confidential and fluid.
Analysts praised the move Wednesday, pointing out that the Dearborn company has sunk $2 billion into India with little return — a tiny market share hovering around 3%.
"This move gets Ford’s underperforming assets in India off its books, which should help clean up its balance sheet a bit," said John McElroy, veteran industry analyst and "Autoline After Hours" host.
"Kudos to Ford for not throwing in the towel altogether and abandoning the market. But this is another example of how big automakers struggle to design low-cost cars for developing markets."
Ford spokeswoman Lori Arpin said in a prepared statement, “Ford remains committed to growing its customer base and product portfolio in the world’s fourth-largest automobile market.”