Skip to comments.Ford sells Jaguar/Land Rover to India's Tata-source
Posted on 03/25/2008 12:42:59 PM PDT by Red Badger
LONDON, March 25 (Reuters) - U.S. automaker Ford (F.N: Quote, Profile, Research) has agreed to sell its luxury brands Jaguar and Land Rover to India's Tata Motors (TAMO.BO: Quote, Profile, Research) for more than $2 billion, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Ford, which signed the deal on Tuesday, plans to publicly announce the transaction in New York at 0800 EST on Wednesday, said another source.
The deal will also see Ford pay about 300 million pounds ($598 million) into Jaguar and Land Rovers' pension funds, according to unions.
Ford declined to comment, adding "our first responsibility is to communicate with our employees."
The sale had been expected at the start of this month, but it was delayed as the two firms discussed their future relationship, including technology sharing and Ford's provision of engines and body parts for the two brands.
Tata, India's top vehicle maker, has been in talks with Ford since it was chosen as the frontrunner to buy Jaguar and Land Rover a few days into 2008.
Tata is pursuing the deal to gain a substantial foothold outside India.
But analysts have questioned how Tata will incorporate the luxury brands into its stable of sturdy trucks and functional passenger cars, including the Nano, the world's cheapest car which it unveiled in January.
While Land Rover has generated three years of record sales with its iconic SUVs, the fit of Jaguar is far less clear. Ford, which lost $2.7 billion in 2007 and $12.6 billion in 2006, is spinning off Jaguar and Land Rover to focus on turning around its loss-making operations in North America.
The sale will include a commitment by Tata to continue buying engines from Ford, according to unions.
All Jaguar and Land Rover's petrol engines are built in a Ford plant in South Wales, supporting hundreds of jobs there. Diesel engines come from Ford's factory in Dagenham, east London.
One of the sources knocked down reports on Indian television earlier on Tuesday that the deal had been closed for $2.65 billion.
"That figure of $2.65 billion is highly unlikely," one source close to the deal said of the report on news channel NDTV Profit. "You have to come south from that by quite a bit."
Ahead of the TV report, shares in Tata Motors rose 2.7 percent to a three-week closing high of 679.95 rupees, in a Mumbai market that surged 6.1 percent.
Ford shares were down 0.2 percent at around $5.95 at 1813 GMT. (Additional reporting by Hiral Vora and Narayanan Somasundaram; Editing by John Mair/Rory Channing/David Cowell)
Ok Tata, let’s see how you are perceived compared to Ford.
It will take awhile but can they do any worse?
Pot Metal Motors
LONDON -- Inspector Morse tooled around Oxford in a Mark II. James Bond's archenemy, Zao, drove an XKR roadster, with an optional Gatling gun mounted behind the seats. When former British Prime Minister Tony Blair pulled out of 10 Downing Street for the last time last year, it was -- how else? -- in the back seat of a Jaguar.
There have been Lotuses and Triumphs, Aston Martins and MGs, but no vehicle has epitomized the once-legendary British motor industry like that most English of cars, the powerful, sultry Jaguar.
Except that, for the better part of 18 years, Jaguar has been owned by Ford Motor Co. of Detroit. And that the brand is about to be acquired by another vestige of Britain's long-ago colonies.
India's Tata Group, in fact, wants to take off Ford's hands not only Jaguar but Land Rover, the British matron of sport utility vehicles in which Queen Elizabeth II has been known to flog through the gardens behind Windsor Castle.
The importance of one of India's muscular conglomerates riding to the rescue of British legends -- and paying as much as $2 billion to do so -- isn't lost on either side of the ex-empire.
The Tata deal, which could be sealed next week, "has made us all proud," said Debashis Chakraborty, a government official in Kolkata, the onetime capital of the British Raj.
Neither Indians nor Brits have failed to appreciate the historical ironies involved. In Britain, though, the reaction has been more mixed, with optimism that Tata Chief Executive Ratan Tata will be able to help restore the brand to its former glory spiked with faint regret that it took an Indian giant to do the job.
"I think Sir William Lyons would be turning in his grave, quite frankly," said Barrie Birkin, a longtime Jaguar owner from Matlock, in the Derbyshire Dales, referring to the legendary co-founder of the company who presided over the marque's preeminence in world motor sports and luxury car design through 1972.
"I can't believe it, to tell you the truth," Birkin said. "But Tata's a guy whose made billions, and he must have some ideas to turn it around."
It probably helps the British attitude that Tata is no stranger to preserving British brands. The company owns Britain's biggest steel firm, Corus, which includes the former British Steel, as well as Tetley Tea, which British observers note with some satisfaction was not merged into Tata Tea, the largest tea manufacturer in India.
"The media like to call it the empire striking back. But I think there's more to it than that. There's a lot of evidence in international business research that companies will go to countries that are close to their own countries, close being defined broadly either in cultural terms or historical terms," said Ravi Ramamurti, director of the Center for Emerging Markets at Northeastern University.
. . . . .
More classically British
Tata would maintain British management teams and three existing production plants in Birmingham and Liverpool, as well as two engineering and design studios.
And both Jaguar and Land Rover could wind up a lot more classically British than they ever did under Ford.
"What attracted us was the fact that these are two iconic brands, global in nature and highly respected for their products," Ratan Tata said in an interview with Autocar magazine. "We believe it is the duty of whoever owns them to nurture the image, to retain their touch and feel, and not to tinker with them. They are British brands -- and they should remain British."
Tata could succeed where Ford faltered by concentrating less on volume and more on restoring Jaguar's allure as a car people spend the first part of their lives dreaming about owning and the rest of their lives paying for. A new XF typically costs upward of $49,000, and Jaguar's supercharged V8 coupe, the XK, can command more than $86,700.
Ford, Cooke said, "didn't have time to stand back and say, 'What's this wonderful beast we've got here?' Ford tried to milk the brand without putting the investment in."
Tata could help reverse Jaguar's flagging sales not only by taking the brand back upmarket, but also by exploring affluent new markets in Eastern Europe and Asia.
The Chinese, according to Cooke, will buy 10 million cars in 2010 and twice that in 2020, with many new buyers choosing mid-size and luxury models for their first cars. General Motors Corp. sold more Buicks in China last year than it did in the U.S. India is behind China but growing phenomenally.
As it is, Tata has a foothold in the automotive industry with the Indica, the second-best-selling car in India last year. This year, the company has introduced what is billed as the world's cheapest car: the Nano, a diminutive four-seater, also known as the People's Car, that will sell in the East only for the moment, for about $2,470. Tata is also the nation's largest truck maker.
The company's positive track record with British acquisitions were factors in the strong support for Tata's bid from British unions. The labor groups had frowned on competing bids from private equity funds, including one represented by former Ford CEO Jacques Nasser, "because of their record of slash and burn, of closing the plants and loading the companies with debt," said Dave Osborne, automotive national secretary for the British umbrella union Unite.
As markets grow in places like Russia and China, he said, Tata wouldn't rule out moving some manufacturing eastward, "but those would be in addition to the British plants, not as substitutes."
From Tata's side, access to British plants, engineering and supply networks will allow a company stuck in Nanos to shave years off its graduation into sedans.
"They're cutting down on that 10-to-15-year gap of their going forward," said Amit Kasat, an auto industry analyst with Motilal Oswal in Mumbai. "It's very much clear that they want to take the Tata brand globally. This is another step."
Capital reverses course
The soon-to-be-completed deal reflects another important reality of the relationship between Britain and its foreign colony: India is now the second-biggest source of foreign investment in Britain, at $104 billion a year.
Bummer. Just when I started to get used to the x-type’s resemblance to the Taurus.
wow...that’s one way to get rid of marketing to gays/lesbians.
sell off the line you used, that started yourself on the road to perdition.
Anyone who thinks the x-type resembled a Taurus needs their eyes checked...
I think this will be a win for RR/Jag brands.
I reserve judgment on this until I get a look at the new 2009 ‘Bodacious’ model from Tata Motors.
I was thinking of the 2003 or 2004 model. I must have misspoke or am sleep deprived.
Idiot. Ford put billions into Jag and finally have beautiful product. Their giving it away alost makes me want to cry.
I think you mean the S-type. Nicest looking Taurus on the planet.
I have a new S type and don’t you dare say it looks like a Taurus! ;)
Ummm, ummm, ummm... sorry.
I did say “nicest looking”...
Tata has a hundred or a thousand times the growth prospects of Ford and you won’t find too much gay oriented advertising.
The deal will also see Ford pay about 300 million pounds ($598 million) into Jaguar and Land Rovers' pension funds, according to unions.
LOOKS LIKE A TAURUS-LOOKS LIKE A TAURUS-LOOKS LIKE A TAURUS!!!
...something overcame me. :o)
Aren't cows sacred in India?
Will luxury car buyers do without leather interiors?
Make it black with all tinted windows and chrome wheels and that is it.
Hey! Get a look at those bodacious Tatas!!!
S-Type and X-type were discontinued; replaced with the XF Sedan, which hit the showrooms this month. Great looking, powerful upgrade. It could seriously turn around the company’s sales in a hurry.
Anybody seen an analysis of how much ford Lost since the acquisition of Jaguar? It’s been a continuous money pit as far as I can tell.
Yeah I bought my S too soon. I love the new XF. sigh
Can we think nasty Jac Nasser for this or just the fact that Ford ventured into market territory they had no business in? It was bad enough for the Yanks to own the venerable British Jaguar name but to be sold to an Indian company!!!
Well TaTa for now.
But we cannot knock Ford's parenthood, as they improved on the troublesome BMW engine in the LR Discovery. The Jag moved to the top of this list in dependability and performance. Remember the when the old joke was you needed two Jags-one available to drive while the other was in the shop.
I can almost see the chandelier light swinging in the cab.
Actually the Jag moved to the top of the list dependability, performance, at least their top of the line did. Keeping a Jag touch to their "lower cost" models. However, I am told the demand for the Jag in my part of the country was not there.
Where I live, luxury sports model autos like the Jag can be used only a few months out of the year, and keeping up with the Jones Family is not on the high list of priorities; like say if you lived on Long Island or California etc. LR, on the other hand is doing a good business here and not built to be a disposable vehicle. I have over 100,000 and paint is like new, dependable, just she needs a swig of oil in between changes for under $2..which costs less than my drive up to get a Coke more frequent.
Would I like better mileage, sure but cannot even use clean diesel (which can take biofuel as well) in my (green image) state. Diesel (our nations truckers) suffers at the pumps, so that Americans pay less; but still keep old habits. We are behind Europe in many respects on what we are able to drive.
It’s a smart way to break into the U.S. market. Americans don’t want to buy an Indian Tata, but they’ll surely snap up Indian-made Jags and Land Rovers.
Ah, the difference a “brand” makes.
Ditto for China’s Chery and Cerebus’s Chrysler.
Land Rover is a grown up tractor that lost it’s way.
Jaguar...... on another thread today we learned that the border fence was problematic for the jaguar because it would not be able to go back and forth across the border.
It depends on where they are made. If these things are made in India, even in part, oh man.
Indian incompetence can’t be overstated. They’re getting a lot of cash now cause they are cheap, speak english, and aren’t africa. They got far with that, but it’s about run its course unless some massive changes are underway.
Ford bought Jag for $3 billion in 1990 dollars, and it has lost money every year since. Love the cars, but talk about a boat anchor on the bottom line!
Great! Now we own two Indian rigs! :)
Perhaps, but I'd be careful underestimating them as I've read that East Indians are the single most successful immigrant group in America.
I meant the locals. The smart ones are either here or coming.
The ones left there are... phew, it’s BAD.
That looks more like a Taurus (particularly a 96-99 Taurus) to me than an x-type... but still not exactly a Taurus look-alike...
At least no more so than any other vehicle. Quite honestly most midsize sedans look so much alike its silly anymore. And they all buy their parts from the same suppliers..... Would you like a Ford Passat or a Volkswagen Accord or a Honda Camry or a Toyota Taurus? :P
Of course, if you believe the AFA, then since Ford stopped all that stuff, they’re the cleanest car company on the planet....
Yeah, I finally saw the XF in person in NY last week. Beautiful car - and very reasonably priced for what it is, as is the XK. Which is why I said earlier that it almost makes me want to cry that Ford is giving the company away just when they’ve returned it to world class.
S-type and the Taurus were built off of the same platform, so there’s bound to be some familial resemblance. But no doubt many cars look alike these days. Only so much you can do with a rounded, aerodynamic blob...
S-type was built on the DEW98 platform, which served as the basis for the Lincoln LS and Ford Thunderbird.
The Taurus was on the D186 platform through 2007. This was shared with the Mercury Sable, Lincoln Continental, and Ford Windstar.
The new Taurus is on the D3 platform, which is/was used for the Sable, Taurus X / Freestyle, Mercury Montego, Volvo S80, Volvo V70, Volvo XC70, Volvo S60, Volvo XC90, and the upcoming Lincoln MKS....
The D3 was based off the Volvo P2, which was designed by Volvo prior to Ford’s buyout of Volvo, and which debuted in 1999.... the D3 and DEW98 are unrelated....
Thanks. My info source must have been mistaken. At least I know he couldn’t give me that kind of detail. :)
Dang! You have a lot of info there and it is friggin spot on too! Good job.