Indian Automaker Shortlisted for Jag, Lr Sale

By: Anthony Fontanelle

Shrinking market shares and increasing debt has forced the Ford Motor Company to auction off its prestigious brands. Earlier this year, the ultra-luxury brand Aston Martin went on sale to a consortium led by Prodrive team owner David Richards. Just months after the sale, Ford announced that Jaguar and Land Rover will also be auctioned off. After the announcement, speculations arose as to where the two British luxury brands will go. Recently, it looks as if an Indian automaker is closing in on the two prestigious brands.

Tata Motors, the largest automaker in India, is now gaining prominence in the auto industry as it is being seen as the frontrunner in the Jaguar/Land Rover sale. Although both Ford and Tata Motors declined to make any comments regarding the issue, speculations in the auto industry is centered on the issue that Tata is the leading candidate to acquire the two British brands.

The only word to come out of Ford is from a spokesman saying: "We are pleased with the positive expressions of interest in the business we have received and in the strength and quality of the interested parties. We are now exploring in greater detail the potential sale of the combined Jaguar-Land Rover business with selected parties who have expressed interest."

Tata Motors, on the other, is silent as ever concerning the possible acquisition of the two prestigious brands. After speculations of the possible sale surfaced, Tata Motors' shares increased by five percent.

Auto analysts agree that the Indian automaker will benefit greatly from acquiring the two prestigious brands. Although a force to reckon with in the Indian auto market, Tata Motors is yet to break into the global auto market. But with Jaguar and Land Rover both under their wings, the Indian automaker's stock will surely rise among auto buyers from the different countries across the world.

Of the two British brands, Land Rover is said to be the better fit for the Indian automaker. Tata Motors is already producing light trucks similar to Land Rover's models. With the experience behind Land Rover and the expertise of Tata Motors in the Asian market, the tandem would mean a good place to start for the Indian automaker to enter the global auto market.

Land Rover though will not be sold alone by Ford. This is because, since the Dearborn-based automaker acquired the two British brands, they have integrated the operations of the two companies to cut down on costs. Thus, any buyer would have to purchase both Jaguar and Land Rover.

The two brands use a common assembly facility in England which means that they are virtually inseparable. Although auto parts for Land Rover like are manufactured in an assembly facility different from where Jaguar auto parts are built, they are all consolidated in a common assembly plant in England where Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles are assembled.

Further reasons given by experts why Tata Motors is in a position to purchase the two British brands is that it is an automaker. This means that the firm will be using the two companies to improve their offerings. In contrast, equity firms who might buy Jaguar and Land Rover will be interested in making profit in a short span of time. That could mean disaster for the two brands as equity firms can close down plant and reduce workers to cut down on costs.

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