It seems to have taken an eternity, but finally the world’s worst kept secret is out: Indian-based Tata Group has bought Land rover and Jaguar. Tata chairman Ratan Tata has borrowed around £1.5 billion to buy the remaining two shining stars in the British automotive firmament, and there are many who would argue he’s got them at a knockdown price. Both manufacturers are on the up.Land Rover has record global sales and is hugely profitable, and Jaguar is also stirring from its slumbers, primarily on the back of the new XF designed by Dumfries-born Ian Callum. The question in many people’s minds is; was Ford right to sell-off the two companies when it was quite clear they were both on the way back?
In all honesty, that question is now redundant. The deal has been done. Tata Group now owns Land Rover and Jaguar. The good news, at least on the face of it, is that production of Jaguars and/or Land Rovers will not be moved to India. Ratan Tata has stressed he will respect the brands’ British heritage. He has also stressed his company will complete the Ford’s five-year investment plan for the UK factories in Halewood, Solihull and Castle Bromwich. Unquestionably, this is good news for the unions who have long been suspicious of Tata’s primary and longterm aims. Their concerns were further eased by assurances Tata will continue to use Ford-supplied engines – such as the 2.7-litre V6 diesel and 3.2 V6 petrol, made in Ford’s Dagenham and Brigend factories – which power many of Jaguar and Land Rovers.
What is crucial though is whether Tata Group is the best custodian of two of the UK’s prime crown jewels? On the face of it, and having read aspects of Tata’s business plan, it would appear the two brands are in safe hands. Ironically the company intends operating only a light hand on guiding Jaguar’s and Land Rover’s future preferring to leave planning and development to those already in situ. Money, it would appear, will also be no object and the two manufacturers can expect significant investment of funds. Even better days, it would appear, are just round the corner for Jaguar and Land Rover.
What do you think? Is the Tata Group takeover of Jaguar and land Rover a good thing? Should Ford have retained the two manufacturers? Here’s your chance to voice your comments.