It has become evident by now that the move to the more stringent BS6 emission norms is expected to have a wide-ranging impact on the engine strategy of automakers in India. The latest automaker to be affected by it is Ford, and, according to sources, its award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine will be discontinued from its India line-up from April 2020.
While Ford has a Euro6 version of the EcoBoost for the global markets, it will have to be reclaribrated for BS6, which is a costly exercise. Besides, despite its brilliant performance, the EcoBoost version accounts for just five percent of EcoSport sales. The lack of demand is believed to be largely due to the price of the EcoBoost variant of the EcoSport, and also because of its fuel efficiency that’s known to plummet with heavy throttle inputs.
Ford will instead use Mahindra's new direct-injection version of the 1.2-litre, three-cylinder turbo, dubbed Turbo GDI (TGDI), as part of the collaboration the two auto majors that was first announced back in 2017. Since then, several further announcements have been made that have deepened the scope of the Mahindra-Ford partnership. This includes co-development of products as well as sharing powertrains.
According to company sources, Ford is believed to be impressed with Mahindra's new 1.2 TGDI engine, which develops significantly more power and torque than the outgoing EcoBoost engine. This is Mahindra’s first direct-injection petrol engine and features a 250bar fuel-injection rail, which results in a higher output of 130hp and 230Nm of torque, in comparison to the 110hp/190Nm MPFI version that’s currently used in the XUV300.
Though the motor will be equipped on the EcoSport initially, it will also power an all-new compact SUV (codenamed: BX744) that is due in 2021. The BX744 will be pitted head-on with the Vitara Brezza and Hyundai Venue, and is expected to have the same squarish and upright proportions.
The new Turbo GDI engine will also be offered on the XUV300 compact SUV, alongside the regular 1.2-litre MPFI powertrain, and is likely to get a twin-clutch automatic transmission as well.
The homegrown carmaker showcased BS6 versions of both the engines at an event recently and revealed that it is on track for the roll-out of BS6-compliant vehicles, which will begin this year itself. Company MD Pawan Goenka said they will be ready to launch the BS6-compliant petrol range around September 2019, as BS6 fuel is not mandatory for such vehicles. The company expects to be ready with its BS6 range of diesel engines by early next year and can launch them as soon as the requisite fuel is available.
Ford will also continue using the 1.2 litre and 1.5 litre ‘Dragon’ family of engines, which will all get upgraded to BS6 and be the mainstay of Ford’s petrol engine range.
HORMAZD SORABJEE & NISHANT PAREKH