Indian giant promises to honour five-year investment plans
26 March 2008

The sale of Jaguar and Land Rover has been completed following the finalisation of the complicated deal between Ford and India’s Tata Motors. The Indian conglomerate has borrowed $2.3 billion (£1.2 billion) to buy the two brands, but maintains that it will not move production of Jaguars or Land Rovers to India, and will respect the brands' British heritage. Tata chairman Ratan Tata confirmed his company will stick to the five-year investment plan for the UK factories in Halewood, Solihull and Castle Bromwich. Announcing the deal, he said:“We are very pleased at the prospect of Jaguar and Land Rover being a significant part of our automotive business. We have enormous respect for the two brands and will endeavour to preserve and build on their heritage and competitiveness, keeping their identities intact. We aim to support their growth, while holding true to our principles of allowing the management and employees to bring their experience and expertise to bear on the growth of the business.”Union worries about job losses have been partially allayed by the five-year promise and assurances that Tata will continue to use Ford-supplied engines. Many of Jaguar and Land Rover’s engines, such as the 2.7-litre V6 diesel and 3.2 V6 petrol, are made in Ford’s Dagenham and Bridgend factories. Ford will also transfer $600 million to the Jaguar and Land Rover pension fund. Ford’s Executive Vice President, Lewis Booth, told Autocar that Ford will help Tata to integrate green technology into the Jaguar and Land Rover ranges, and he also that the engine supply arrangement is a long-term deal, saying that “Tata is really committed to the business and really committed to Britain.” Booth also confirmed that Ford is not maintaining any stake in Jaguar / Land Rover, in contrast to the 15 per cent holding it maintained in Aston Martin when it sold the company last year.Jaguar Land Rover CEO, Geoff Polites, welcomed the formal announcement of the deal by saying: “Jaguar Land Rover’s management team is very pleased that Ford and Tata Motors have come to an agreement today. Our team has been consulted extensively on the deal content and feels confident that it provides for the business needs of both our brands going forward.”History of TataJaguar: the futureLand Rover: the futureJaguar: promise unfulfilledLand Rover: the world's most succesful 4x4 makerGeneva Show interview with Ratan TataGo to Chas Hallett's JLR blog

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26 March 2008

Just a few additional thoughts on what is a historic day. The news that TATA have tie-ups with the FIAT group brings a few possibilities. As the sale also includes the Rover name it would not be that difficult to substitute a Rover grill for a Lancia grill and re-launch Rover on the UK market again, might also help Lancia achieve a few sales as well, just a thought.

26 March 2008

It is sad to see Ford give up on two companies which they have done so much to improve. However the takeover by Tata is to be welcomed. He is one of the world's most successful businessmen and he certainly has the financial muscle to develop both marques. In addition he has a good understanding of Britain and the British. So Welcome Mr Tata and the very best of luck.

Ford's biggest mistake was the Jaguar X type. They reduced the spacious floor pan of the Mondeo and gave us a car with little rear leg room. The styling was too retro but the biggest mistake was to say that it was based on the Mondeo. They should have said that the Mondeo was based on the Jaguar. Sales of both wuld have rocketed!

Does anyone mind Audi being largely based on VW's?

26 March 2008

The reality of playing in all the sectors that Jaguar plays in is the investment required to design & engineer a vehicle that is competitive is the same for Merc, BMW, Audi and Jaguar. The price point is about the same for all players as well.Therefore if the investment and price point are the same what really counts is getting the volume to justify the investment. There's only two ways to solve this problem - drive the volume or cut the development costs. Reitzle left because he was pushing Ford towards more investment (i.e. making a better product) and pushing the volume. Ford went the other way and badge engineered the X-type (Mondeo) and the S-type (Lincoln LS of all things) and reduced the product quality - which drove down volume as hardly anyone wanted to buy these cars.Simple lesson is at the current Jaguar volumes you can't justify investing $4-5B in new products. Ford couldn't - they sold out. And before you all get on the Autocar bandwagon for the XF let's see some sales figures after six months. It's a reskin of the S-type with XK suspension and a funky interior...I remember Chrysler introduced a push button auto gearbox in the '70s...how many cars have one now?The segment volumes are pretty well fixed so Jaguar needs better product to takes sales off Merc, BMW and Audi. So can Tata? Will Tata? As a lot of the optimists say he's a very successful businessman. And very successful businessmen don't take bets of this magnitude...so what's in store? Under investment and milking the brands to exhaustion or massive investment in new platforms and technology a la Merc and BMW?

Me thinks it's the former...and another Rover within 5 years.

26 March 2008

New money, new approach and a guy at the top who is not afraid to make decisions on new exciting models. After the lethargy of Ford, this has to be a great thing for both companies.

27 March 2008

JLR uses predominantly Steel, with increasing use of Aluminium. Corus changed their name because as well as steel, they are increasingly producing Aluminium. Tata, therefore, have bought their british subsidiary a customer.

Also, I remember reading an interview with Ratan Tata, in which he claimed to be the current manufacturer of JLR's tooling. So the most recently purchased equipment are Tata.

These two suppositions , together with others I think, make the purchase seem rather less of a gamble.

27 March 2008

Sounds like good news! Jaguar and LR is finally breaking away from the constraints of Ford.

Jaguar's failure was mostly fords doing as they were too cautious and made many foolish decisions.

1) The X-Type, while was good in theory, was poor in execution. Being based on the Mondeo was not so bad. Audi's A4 is based on the VW Passat and nobody makes a big deal about that (But Audi isn't stupid enough to actually promote it!!!) The X-Type's styling, packaging, etc were little to be desired.

2) The F-Type roadster, Jaguar teased us with the sexy concept car and, at the last minute, canned it! BIG mistake! It was one of the first modern Jaguar many ppl actually lusted for. It would have sold by the bucket loads.

3) The F1 team - STUPID idea, enough said!

4) Retro style - a lot has been said about the retro styling of Jaguars. Just couldnt attract the people who were buying Mercedes, BMWs and Audis. Jaguar should've been a design leader. The S type was a disaster, styling wise. The XJ well looks like its over 40 years old and hasnt aged a day and the 'mini' XJ, the X type, was just wrong. I don't think any 3 series, A4 or C Class owner, in his/her right mind would trade their car for an X-Type. Maybe they'd buy one for their grandparents.

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