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http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNe.../autos_tata_ford_080403/20080403?s_name=Autos

Ford Motor Co.'s recent sale of the Jaguar and Land Rover brands to India's Tata Group for US$2.3 billion was not a big surprise; it had been rumoured for months. But what Tata does with the two British brands just might surprise the world.

Tata is not a slice-and-dice takeover company. It is in this deal for the long-term. Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata made that clear at last month's Geneva auto show. There, he came across as the well-regarded businessman who a while ago engineered the well-received acquisition of equally iconic Tetley Tea.

"Our plan is to retain the image, the touch, and the feel of Jaguar and Land Rover," Tata said in Geneva. "We will not tinker with the brands in any way. They are special global brands and whoever acquires them has a responsibility to nurture them and enable them to prosper."


We were in Geneva to shoot two episodes of Car/Business on CTV. The Tata Nano, a car that costs the same as three nights in a decent Geneva hotel -- $2,500 - is the focus of a long segment on an upcoming episode of Car/Business.

Viewers will see just what this little car for emerging markets is all about. And viewers will get some very useful insight into Tata and what it takes to produce a car that sells for the price of a Canali suit.

The irony, of course, is that the same company making the Nano is now running two premium brands, brands that Ford Motor Co. could never figure out. Some reports indicate that Ford, since 1989, has squandered as much as $50 billion on Jaguar and Land Rover. That number may be high, but no one denies Ford lost billion on Jaguar and Land Rover.

You thought the Bear Stearns meltdown was a disaster, that UBS, the Swiss investment bank and wealth management icon, is a mess after writing down US$37 billion in bad subprime loans? Well, the money Ford has wasted on Jaguar and Land Rover is stunning by comparison.

We have good reason to believe the Tata takeover is a good one. The brands have passed from an American company in financial distress to an Indian one with a strong balance sheet. What the Tata bosses must avoid are Ford's mistakes. That means Tata should not interfere excessively in the product plans at Jaguar and Land Rover. And lay off the marketing of new models, too.

Time and again Ford stumbled about with Jaguar in particular. The S-Type now being replaced by the excellent XF was first shown in 1997. That's 11 years ago and three lifetimes in the car business.

The X-Type, of course, was a complete disaster. A reworked Ford Mondeo could ever hope to compete against the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Audi A4.

So that's the past. What of the future? Will Tata give Jaguar and Land Rover the "Tetley tea treatment" by leaving its managers and designers in place, doing what they do best, making and selling cars with minimal interference?

Many think yes. When Tata took over Tetley, the management remained intact and the new managing director, Peter Unsworth, was financing director eight years ago when Tata bought the company.

Jaguar and Land Rover have strong future product plans in place which means there is good reason to believe Tata will keep its distance. And if Jaguar does what is planned it could in the black by 2009 - after 20 years of losses. Land Rover is already profitable.

This brings us to what's coming. Let's start with Land Rover which has already begun to shift its image from ruggedly luxurious to fashionably conscious. Its gas-guzzling SUVs (sport-utility vehicles) may be at the core of the business now, but change is coming.

For proof look at Land Rover's small LRX concept, unveiled at the Detroit auto show in January. A "baby" Land Rover with a gasoline-electric powertrain makes complete sense in a time of spiking pump prices and stiffening government regulations for fuel economy and reduced CO2 emissions.

Land Rover needs to make a real model based on this concept and just might. Remember, the deal with Ford gives Tata access to powertrains, stampings and other vehicle components, in addition to environmental and platform technologies. Ford also will provide engineering support, including research and development, plus information technology, accounting and other services.

The point in all this is that Ford has hybrid technology in the Escape and the coming Fusion. On the surface it appears Tata could use it to do a hybrid Land Rover with Ford's help - say, by 2011.

There's a lot more to Jaguar and Land Rover's future that just one model, though.

For instance, in 2009 the high-performance versions of the XF and XK are coming - the XFR and XKR. According to sources, high-performance versions of both will be based around an all-new 5.0-litre, direct-injection gasoline V-8, in naturally aspirated and supercharged variations.

Look for them later this year, when the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport also get the new V-8. The latter two will also get cosmetic changes to the interiors.
 

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The X-Type, of course, was a complete disaster. A reworked Ford Mondeo could ever hope to compete against the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Audi A4.
Not really, or rather, absolutely not. It did not fulfill expectations, and it looked unfinished, but it remains a strong entry so many years on.
 

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I noticed a few errors like the s-class one...basic simple facts that should be checked out before going to press.:rolleyes:
 

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A famed sociologist/historian, whose name escapes me once quipped...

"The last Englishman on Earth will be an Indian."

All JLR needed was to be bankrolled by a healthy corporation — something that's sorely lacking in the West these days...
 

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A famed sociologist/historian, whose name escapes me once quipped...

"The last Englishman on Earth will be an Indian."

Malcolm Muggeridge

Jaguar and LR have the potential of setting new standards in luxury and design and performance -- given the proper funding and management.
Ford had the right idea, but they just couldn't follow through.
Ford gave Jaguar and LR new products and fix a lot of the initial quality problems. But incorrect product strategy doomed Jaguar. But LR is quite profitable with a very high class and high end lineup with a very wealthy demographic.
 

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Jaguar and Land Rover have strong future product plans in place which means there is good reason to believe Tata will keep its distance.
The reason why Tata is going to leave their hands off Jaguar and Land Rover and why they will succeed. As much as the article tried to be pro-Indian in all its rhetoric, it really highlighted that Tata will not really do much but just watch the brands evolve. Of course they are not going to slice and dice only two luxury brands, something Tata could never produce on its own fromt he ground up.

Remember, the deal with Ford gives Tata access to powertrains, stampings and other vehicle components, in addition to environmental and platform technologies. Ford also will provide engineering support, including research and development, plus information technology, accounting and other services.
Again, Tata is not doing this alone, using their "engineering and management wizardry". Ford is going to help them with pretty much everything.
 

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YupYupYup, if Ford was oh-so-great, they wouldn't've recorded so many losses on Jaguar, and ultimately haven't sold it...

Ford had the right idea, but they just couldn't follow through.
Ford had no clue, as usual. They greenlighted two undercooked models, one of which was awful (S-Type), and other simply unfinished. The engineering might have been top-notch, but it costs about the same to build an ugly car and a nice car, not to mention that if they have no idea for an interior, they'd better stick with the old design...

Second shot in the foot by Ford was letting subpar quality of interiors. Suddenly, however, they could come up with an all-new high-quality set of switchgear for the XK and XF, so I guess it is more incompetence than funding problems.
 

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YupYupYup, if Ford was oh-so-great, they wouldn't've recorded so many losses on Jaguar, and ultimately haven't sold it...



Ford had no clue, as usual. They greenlighted two undercooked models, one of which was awful (S-Type), and other simply unfinished. The engineering might have been top-notch, but it costs about the same to build an ugly car and a nice car, not to mention that if they have no idea for an interior, they'd better stick with the old design...

Second shot in the foot by Ford was letting subpar quality of interiors. Suddenly, however, they could come up with an all-new high-quality set of switchgear for the XK and XF, so I guess it is more incompetence than funding problems.
I think James May summed it up quite nicely.

 

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dont know about you but an indian owned Jag or Land rover just doesnt do it for me
 

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It figures that Ford would finally do right by Jaguar by creating this, and then getting rid of the brand.

Don't worry though, Ford fans, they refreshed the Econoline's front end...again...
 

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Tata could do very well with Jaguar. Ford dumped a lot of money into jag. to bring it up to date. Unfortunately they did it at the expense of development of the rest of company. Now the ford brands are in such bad shape that they will would have to make Jaguar suffer to develop ford. Tata gets a luxury brand that will need money but they're not starting from ground zero like Ford did. Ford could benefit by having some one to sell parts too and partner in the development for the big changes in the near future that car companies are facing.
 
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