The beginning and growth of India's largest private company
26 March 2008

Prior to their much publicised take over of Land Rover and Jaguar, the Tata Group was probably best known in the UK for their ownership of Corus and Tetley. Yet producing steel and keeping the nation’s cups full of tea bags are only two small parts of India’s largest private company. Reputedly built on five core values: integrity, understanding, excellence, unity and responsibility, the conglomerate now encompasses 98 companies worldwide, and generated $28.8 billion in revenue last year.The company certainly has a heritage to match its new acquisitions. Jamsetji Tata founded the company in the 19th century as India began her road to independence from the British Empire. Originating in cloth mills and hotels, Tata has grown over the past hundred years to include interests in energy, software, communications, salt, chemicals, and not least, cars and commercial vehicles.Tata Motors is India’s largest automobile company and the world’s second largest bus manufacturer. Since the first car rolled out in 1954, over 4 million Tata vehicles have taken to India’s roads. They made headlines in January this year by unveiling the world’s cheapest car at the Delhi Auto Expo. The inevitably low frills £1300, half tonne Tata Nano is obviously a world away from the cars Jaguar and Land Rover produce, and is intended to provide India’s emerging middle class with affordable transport.The car was the product of five years research and exemplifies Tata’s enthusiasm for innovation, an attribute reflected in their financial backing for the compressed air driven OneCAT.

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