Currently reading: Jaguar Land Rover boss plays down PSA sale report - but doesn't deny it
Fresh reports claim French PSA Group is closing on deal to buy luxury British carmaker
James Attwood, digital editor
News
3 mins read
15 May 2019

Jaguar Land Rover boss Ralf Speth has played down reports the firm could be sold to the PSA Group - but not refuted them outright.

Quizzed on rumours linking the firms, with JLR owner Tata Motors reported to be considering an outright or partial shareholding sale, at the FT Future of the Car summit, Speth said: "There are lots of rumours flying around but I can't confirm any of these discussions."

Asked if he and PSA boss Carlos Tavares had spoken, Speth said: "I have met Carlos Tavares at ACEA (the association of European car makers) meetings but we didn't discuss anything about ownership".

Autocar first reported talks of a potential deal last month, while last week, the Press Association reported seeing a 'post-sale integration document' that has been circulated within JLR, highlighting the benefits of the company being sold by Tata Motors to PSA, which comprises CitroënDSPeugeot and Vauxhall/Opel. A source also told the PA that "things are moving quickly behind closed doors."

In reponse to that, Tata Motors re-affirmed a previous statement saying that "there was no truth to rumours that Tata Motors is looking to divest its stake in JLR."

A PSA Group spokesperson told PA that it was in "no hurry" to make any acquisitions, but added it would "consider" any oportunities that came along.

Tavares has been open in recent months about his desire to expand the group, either through acquisitions or partnerships with other car firms. Tavares led PSA’s purchase of Vauxhall/Opel from GM in 2017. The Peugeot family, which owns the largest stake in the PSA Group, also recently said it would back future mergers or acquisitions, including with the FCA Group.

In an exclusive interview with Autocar India recently, Tavares was asked about the firm's interest in Jaguar Land Rover. He said that it would be good for PSA to have a luxury brand, and that the company was “considering all opportunities,” adding he would be interested “as long as it’s not a distraction.”

Tavares said that there had been no discussions with Tata Motors about Jaguar Land Rover yet. He also said that “we don’t have a specific target but if there are opportunities, of course, we will consider it.”

Asked further about adding a luxury brand that would sit about DS, Tavares said: "Why not? Why shouldn’t we discuss it? It depends on what kind of value creation we could generate." 

Jaguar Land Rover has struggled in recent months, hit by falling demand for diesels and the decline of the Chinese market. Recent heavy losses, including an asset writedown, also caused the Tata Group to post a quarterly loss.

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Tavares cited PSA’s success in turning around Vauxhall/Opel, which posted its first profit in 20 years recently, suggesting it could have a similar impact on the strugging British firm: “With Opel, we have demonstrated that we can turn around a company that was in the red for 20 years, in 12 months. So this is something we know how to do.” 

Tavares said the group’s current focus was on its ‘Push to Pass’ strategic growth strategy to expand the company’s global presence, including expansion into the US, Russian and Indian markets.

In a statement to Autocar India following its interview with Tavares, Tata Motors said that Jaguar Land Rover was not for sale. Following Jaguar Land Rover's 2018 losses, Tata's boss had previously affirmed its commitment to the company.

Read more

Analysis: how Carlos Tavares transformed the PSA Group

Insight: why PSA bought Vauxhall and Opel

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TStag 29 May 2019

JLR merger unlikely

The more I think about a PSA / JLR merger the more I doubt it will happen. The main reasons being as follows:

- JLR have already made massive strategic investments, e.g the battery plant at Hams Hall, the new Electric Motor and ICE manufacture site in Wolverhampton, etc

- They have new class leading engines with beat in class CO2 emmisions

- They will within the next 6-8 months have an electric XJ and Range Rover car

- New Defender is coming on line shortly

- Newly developed MLA platform which will underpin all their future cars

- Very US dealer network (PSA doesn’t have this)

Why could PSA give JLR in terms of problems?

- PSA have mirror production quality and dealer problems in China, so no help there...

- Engines generally produce worse CO2s

- Unprofitable German factories

- Low margin high volume car business that will be smaller than most rivals globally

- FWD cars, when most JLR products are RWD or AWD

Positives:

- PSA infotainment systems might be slightly better although JLRs are now much better than they were

-Volume for some components like engines to be spread across

- Good partner for Tata (might be the one big winner here)

 

Point is when you consider the about you start thinking that there are many many better partners for JLR:

- Mazda - New SkyActive X petrol engines will be truly class leading and a great replacement for Diesel. MX5 and next 5 type could platform share but not compete with one another. Factories better fit for each other geographically as allows local production for both companies. Mazda known for reliable cars.....

- BMW - lots of opportunities to spread costs. MINI and JLR a good fit. Would protect both JLR form Brexit better. Possibly best fit.

- Toyota - mix of similar benefits from BMW and Mazda

- Mercedes - at last Mercedes get a proper 4x4 brand and synergies would be strong. Ability to share more component high. Uk factories may be useful to Mercedes cars post Brexit. Mercedes could destabilise Jaguar in F1 and have them win almost overnight.

Point is any of the above are a better fit for JLR than PSA as they contribute more than just a few components to the deal. Because of that I suspect they could afford to pay more for JLR as well. PSA only works if Tata buys it and then dumps most of PSAs tech and spreads JLR tech about.

 

 

 

mark2autoz 16 May 2019

Also...

Also, dealers in North America have all recently been remodeled as British Jaguar Land Rover stores with snow still having Aston too. I’m not sure how lower-end French brands would fit, but could eventually I guess - years from now as a long term strategy. Actually, PSA taking a 20-30 percent stake in JLR might not be a bad thing - especially if Peugeot and Citroen launch large luxury sedans like their recent concepts, which could share costs / platforms with next-gen Jag XJ. PSA still use a version of the JLR Diesels too - don’t they? I’d be ok with a minority stake from PSA in JLR.
mark2autoz 16 May 2019

Just rumors I guess

Just press guesses and rumors so far. I watched the Autocar India interview with the head of PSA and he never really suggested anything at all. It was the interviewer that pushed the JLR idea a few times and the head of PSA just kinda gave in regarding luxury brands and basically said - yeah, I guess, to the idea of a random luxury brand acquisition might be a possibility as an idea ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I would rather JLR stay independent, and Tata typically aren’t short term - they invest for the long term. Sooo, years of record JLR profits and now losses for the past year so they cut and run. Not sure Tata would do that. I could see a collaboration / shared tech and components if it’s a good fit - with PSA taking maybe a 20-30 percent stake in Tata Motors / JLR and maybe Tata taking a small stake in PSA along with PSA throwing Tata a couple Billion pounds for their 20-30 percent minority stake.

If the Land Rover brand is currently estimated to be valued at £9 Billion by itself then PSA is going to have to cough up a lot of dough for all of JLR.

Just my opinion ¯\_(ツ)_/¯