India Watch : Tata launches Jaguar and Land Rover in India

Automotive News Europe/Reuters, 29th June, 2009

MUMBAI (Reuters) — Tata Motors on Sunday launched its Jaguar and Land Rover brands in India. Chairman Ratan Tata said it was a momentous occasion for the company. “This is in keeping with our desire to extend the penetration of the brands in India,” he said.

Tata Motors bought British-based Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford Motors for $2.3 billion last year but the company’s purchase of the brands has not been good news for the Indian automaker so far.

On Friday, Tata Motors posted its first loss in eight years at $520 million for the year to March 2009, with Jaguar Land Rover unit reporting a loss of 306 million pounds ($504 million) in the 10 months of the fiscal year to March 2009.

Jaguar is launching the XF and XK range of luxury coupes and convertibles in India starting at a price tag of 6.3 million rupees ($130,977) and going up to 9 million rupees.

Land Rover will initially be launching three vehicles including the Range Rover Sport and Land Rover Discovery 3, with prices also starting at 6.3 million rupees but going beyond 9 million.

“The luxury car market in India is very small, but there is a huge opportunity there. It is growing fast and we expect it to grow fast over the next 5 to 10 years,” said David Smith, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover.

“India is an important part of our plans for the future,” said Mike O’Driscoll, Managing Director of Jaguar.

The luxury car segment in India is less than 1 percent of the total car market there.

On the issue of loan guarantees for Jaguar Land Rover, Tata said the company is in discussions with the U.K. Government and “hopefully we will find a solution for it and our funding plan for JLR will progress.”

The company is seeking guarantees for the £340m loan sanctioned by the European Investment Bank and other loans from U.K.-based commercial banks. It is seeking these funds to develop new and more fuel-efficient cars to help improve its competitive position.

“Sustaining the downturn is important for us … and finding a solution (for the loan guarantees) is extremely important to us,” Tata said.

[Source: Automotive News Europe/Reuters]

Clive Goldthorp

About the Author:

Clive claims that his interest in the BMC>MG story dates back to his childhood in the 1960s when the family’s garage premises were leased to a tenant with an Austin agency. However, back in the 1920s and 1930s, his grandmother was one of the country’s first female Garage Proprietors so cars probably run in his genes! Admits to affairs with Alfa Romeos, but has more recently owned an 06/06 MG TF 135 and then a 15/64 MG3 Style… Clive, who was AROnline’s News Editor for nearly four years, stood down from that role in order to devote more time to various Motor Racing projects but still contributes articles on as regular basis as his other commitments permit.

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