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NEW ERA FOR BRITISH BRANDS

A brighter future for Jaguar, Land Rover

Suppliers, unions are positive about Tata’s takeover of British luxury brands

Initial demand has been strong for Jaguar’s newest model, the XF. The automaker has received more than 10,000 customer deposits for the sedan.
Jaguar and Land Rover could have a bright future under Tata Motors’ ownership, industry insiders say.

Earlier this month Tata group Chairman Ratan Tata told Automotive News Europe that he would not transfer Jaguar and Land Rover production or component sourcing from the UK to low-cost countries.

“Our plan would be to retain the image, the touch and the feel of Jaguar and Land Rover. We will not tinker with the brands in any way,” Tata said at the Geneva auto show.

Suppliers, trade union leaders and automotive experts say Tata’s ownership will end uncertainty about the future of the two brands and allow them to grow.

Changing hands
Jaguar and Land Rover have had many owners:
Jaguar owners 1922 Swallow Sidecar Company founded 1945 Swallow Sidecar renamed Jaguar 1966 Jaguar becomes part of British Motor Holdings 1968 Jaguar becomes part of British Leyland 1984 Jaguar floated off as a separate company from British Leyland 1989 Ford agrees to buy Jaguar 2008 Tata agrees to buy Jaguar
Land Rover owners 1948 Rover Car Company makes first Land Rover 1967 Land Rover becomes part of Leyland Motors, then British Leyland 1988 British Aerospace buys Rover Group, formerly British Leyland 1994 BMW buys Rover Group 2000 Ford buys Land Rover from BMW for £1.8 billion 2008 Tata agrees to buy Land Rover

“There is an excellent future ahead for Jaguar and Land Rover. They couldn’t have asked for a better new owner,” said Kumar Bhattacharyya, head of the Warwick Manufacturing Group in central England, which has worked with Tata.

Bhattacharyya said Tata’s commitment to long-term investments and keeping the current management teams is positive.

“Tata is a very benevolent company, they are not going to be looking for a quick buck, they are going to be there for the long haul,” he said.

Grant Adams, managing director of Sertec Group Holdings, a UK body panel and stampings supplier, said: “We are very positive, especially when you look at the other companies that Tata has bought such as Corus and Tetley. Both have gone from strength to strength.”

If built, the LRX small SUV concept would provide Land Rover with a model that offers sharp looks and lower CO2 emissions than its larger SUV siblings.
Added Adams: “It is almost the perfect marriage, although you never know how it is going to turn out until they start living with each other.”

Dave Osborne, who heads the automotive unit at the Unite trade union, which represents most Jaguar and Land Rover workers, also is positive about the brands’ future.

“Tata is talking about a long-term vision for the companies and is committed to keeping manufacturing, design and engineering in the UK,” he said. “Its view of the Jaguar-Land Rover business is not far removed from ours.”

Added Osborne: “I can see a reasonably bright future for Jaguar-Land Rover under Tata ownership. It’s going to be a tough road back, but I think the tools are in place to do it.”

Tony Lewin contributed

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