September 9, 2021 was a particularly sad day in the Indian automotive industry when Ford India decided to shut down manufacturing and restructure into what was to be known as Ford Business Solutions. However, some recent events have raised hope and speculation about the re-entry of the American car maker in India.
The most recent thing that raises these speculations is the fact that Ford has filed a patent application for the new-generation Endeavour, which is on sale globally. We understand that a patent filing isn’t exactly solid proof of an upcoming launch, but there are some things that can be deduced. Ford India recently called off a deal to sell its remaining Chennai plant to the JSW Group, and it is now said to be exploring alternatives for the same. Given the circumstances, Ford could well be looking to bring in the new-generation Endeavour as a CBU or a CKD, although it is likely to be the former, with the possibility of local assembly at some point, depending on how it performs in the market. Interestingly, Ford India is said to have reported a profitable 2023 fiscal year from vehicle and engine exports.
During Ford’s departure in 2021, it had mentioned it was going to import and sell its niche cars in India. However, we are yet to see the new Mustang, the Mustang Mach-E, or the Bronco on our roads yet. Interestingly, even though Ford had wrapped up manufacturing in India, it continues to provide customers with after-sales service, regularly promoting that on its social media handles as well.
Let’s focus on the Endeavour now. While the previous model was sold here with a 2.2-litre diesel engine, the new-generation Endy is offered globally with a wide range of powertrains; a 2.3-litre turbo petrol, a 2-litre diesel with single turbo and twin-turbo versions, and a 3-litre V6 diesel. These powertrains can be had with either a six-speed automatic or a ten-speed automatic. It gets a 50 mm wider track than before, while its wheelbase also measures 50 mm longer. The set of features includes heated and ventilated 10-step power adjustable front seats with memory function, along with heated second row seats on select variants, a 12-inch portrait touch screen infotainment system, a 360-degree camera, an ADAS suite, and nine airbags among others.
Is 2024 going to be the year we see the return of Ford India? From a business perspective, things look unclear but certainly not hopeless. From an enthusiast’s (and a fan) perspective, I can only wish things materialize sooner!