News : JLR talking to Aston Martin?

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Would the next XK be engineered and priced down in a unified Aston-Jaguar tie-up?
Would the next XK be engineered and priced down in a unified Aston-Jaguar tie-up?

Executives at Jaguar Land Rover owner Tata Motors have held talks with Aston Martin as the supercar firm looks set to be taken over. A high-level industry source told the Birmingham Post that Tata is one of several potential buyers for Gaydon-based Aston Martin, alongside the likes of Toyota and Mahindra & Mahindra.

Speculation has been rife for more than a year that the Warwickshire firm is on the market but Aston Martin has continually scotched rumours and again this week claimed the company was “not for sale”. But a flurry of reports have emerged in both financial and automotive media suggesting Kuwaiti firm Investment Dar, which owns 64 per cent of Aston Martin, wants to off-load its investment and has appointed Rothschild to help find a buyer.

A source close to Tata told the Post that high level talks had taken place with Aston Martin executives. He said “All sorts of companies are interested in potentially buying it and a deal is likely to happen in a few weeks. Supposedly they have had many offers. The names linked with them included Mahindra & Mahindra and there have also been some talks with Tata. A number of Chinese companies are interested as well. The Kuwaiti owners are on a buyer push and a sale is going to happen. It’s just a question of when.”

Investment Dar were the major investor in the group that bought Aston Martin and the consortium is believed to be keen to off-load its 64 per cent stake for around £500 million. Some reports suggested Toyota was leading the pack and said the firm had already conducted due diligence on the books at Aston Martin, which was bought by Investment Dar, David Richards, John Sinders and Kuwait-based Adeem Investment from Ford in 2007 for £479 million

The Japanese car-maker is no stranger to the Gaydon-based firm having worked with it to produce its Cygnet city car – an upmarket version of the Toyota iQ.

Aston Martin revealed significant growth in sales to the crucial Asian market in 2011, despite slipping into the red, after seeing sales to Asia increase by 48.5 per cent in 2011, to £66 million.

Aston Martin needs a radicall overhaul in the future - JLR has the budget and talent to make this happen. We've had too many me-too Astons recently...
Aston Martin needs a radical overhaul in the future – JLR has the budget and talent to make this happen. We’ve had too many me-too Astons recently…

[Read More: Birmingham Post]

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

29 Comments

  1. I’m not entirely sure this is the best move for Jaguar as the big cat really needs to focus on it’s core brand in order establish what Jaguar is about. The problem is that in the past, Jaguar cars was always hamstrung by the very fact that AML was at the top of the pile and prevented them from being taken seriously – despite the fact that, whatever Aston did, Jaguar always answered back with something better. DB7->XK8 being the example.

    Also, can they really afford to have a massive increase in their average CO2 emissions. If TATA were to acquire AML, then Toyota would have full right to withdraw the Cygnet/iQ at the end of it’s current run, leaving AML’s average CO2 well above the EU average legal limit. Taking this on could cause all sorts of problems for JLR in the future.

    AML, A jewel in the crown for JLR, or a major liability?… I think that for Toyota, AML would be a better fit as there is no overlap. Jaguar has the chance to be as good, if not better, than Aston Martin Lagonda at the games they play.

    In my view, this is potentially a really bad idea.

  2. JLR and Aston already use a lot of cross over parts, and if priced properly Aston could be the super luxury brand with Jag below, just like Audi, Porsche, Bentley and Lambo exist in the same group.

  3. Competing against yourself isn’t an issue (if you’re selling product it doesn’t matter which brand it comes from, look at VAG!). BL’s issue was a lot of their products sucked, so people bought from a different manufacturer. It makes you wonder if there will be much that is “British” in future. This country has truly screwed up when it comes to indigenously owned, profits kept in the UK businesses.

  4. Interesting one this… Objectively, Toyota makes sense – especially having lost out on chances to invest in Lotus in the past. However, Tata have clearly demonstrated they know how to run a car business so imagine they have a serious business plan for JLR-AM. I do not know enough about Mahindra to assess their capability as guardians of the brand and doubt that, as a standalone Chinese-owned company, it will work given the Chinese track record with MG and London Taxis. Maybe the exception is Volvo owner’s Geeley who might be capable of developing the brand?

  5. It’s a good idea as long as TATA are willing to accept Jaguar’s top end cars competing with Aston’s. Jaguar absolutely must have a presence in some markets Aston competes in. But the reward for competing with one another with similar cars is greater economies of scale.

    Aston won’t go away anytime soon, so better that Jag profits from owning them. Also maybe in buying them they have an opportunity to dress the Range Rover up in new clothes, add £100,000 to the price and call it a Lagonda?

  6. To be honest it does make sense if TATA buy them. Jag & Aston have shared technology in the past, and it seemed to work. The Chinese would make a bog of it, and Mahindra, well they are one of the main rivals to TATA back in India, so I can understand why they are sniffing, as Aston is one hell of a prestige badge to own

  7. why does it have to be JLR? All yoy need is a very very rich sugar daddy. how will the infinately changeable VH platform fit in with what JLR has?

  8. One wonders how Mahindra would fare – not a brand anyone takes seriously here in the West (based on limited exposure – anyone remember their miserable Jeep CJ based Mahindra Indian Brave from the early 1990’s?).

    But then Tata was a company with zero credibility with the great majority of car enthusiasts when it took over Jaguar and Land Rover. Almost incredulously, this little-known car maker inexperienced in producting premium luxury cars has done very well indeed. So I wouldn’t rule out Mahindra as a major force in the motor industry in the near-to-medium term.

  9. It didnt work too well when Jaguar and AM where last bed fellows under Ford, but I’m not sure that means it would be a bad idea now. Jaguar and Aston are hardly competitors. Jaguar these days is a British Audi/BMW/Mercedes, not a manufacturer of super cars. I could envisage a Jaguar range consisting of the new F Type as an “affordable” Boxster rival and the XK morphing into a sort of BMW 6 series competitor – XF Coupe – leaving Aston as the serious sports car manufacturer.

  10. Adrian888
    Geely ! That’s a laugh ! Please don’t wish that on Aston Martin. Hells Bells they cannot even be trusted to source a decent steering box for my former employers The London Taxi Company

  11. I think a tie up would be a good idea – it’s hard to see that AM could have the cash to develop more models for the next 10 years for example (even if they do sell more cars than MG) and, to be fair, the cars are similar yet different enough to each other. Is (one of) the AMs still built on the old XJS platform? alex

  12. I agree with the caption about too many near-identical Aston Martons recently. I think if JLR made a couple of coupes (the XK8 and their new one – I can’t remmber what it’s called), then made an Aston Marton variant of both of them, then I think that would be enough. Do they still make the V12? It would be cool to keep that as an option. alex

  13. Any bedfellow of Jaguar looks overpriced. The DB7 looked like it had twice as many Ford parts on it than the XK8 for twice the price. Before that Jaguar’s parent company was knocking out Granadas (albeit in S pepino form) for more money than XJ40s.

  14. I thought Geely also own Volvo? However, IF JLR buy AM the LAST thing that will work is AM versions of Jags. My view is that Jaguar should develop as UK Porsche competitor and AM as a Maserati.

  15. Mahindra is a bit of an unknown quantity, and I’m not sure if they’ve got the same level of resources that Tata have. I see that there are advantages to linking up with AML but again, they need large amounts of investment to get back to the level that Ferrari are at. Brand differentiation will be hugely important, rather than one better or more luxurious than the other. Jaguar should be striving to hit the heady heights of Mercedes at least before hitting supercar territory.

    Here’s a point: Would C-X75 gone ahead on a Jaguar badge if AML had already been in the stable…..?

  16. AM are not really a good fit for JLR, You either end up with a situation in which Jaguar directly competes with Aston. With people thinking why buy the Aston, when the Jag must be very similar, and cost alot less.

    Or you have to debilerately cripple Jaguar to allow Aston to have a niche.

  17. Other factors to consider:
    1. I recall that Ford retained 10% of AML.
    2. Some years after the separation of AML and JLR, Gaydon site is far from separated.
    3. Which potential buyer will be in the best position to provide all the electrical and electronic kit that any road car customer expects these days?
    4. Mahindra and Mahindra surely have enough on their plate with the recent acquisition of Ssangyong, a company with an arguably even more exciting recent history than MG Rover.
    5. Ratan Tata is due to retire next month.

  18. Here’s my take on it…

    TATA have worked wonders with JLR albeit more LR than J!

    AML & JLR could fit together and draw strength from mistakes in the past.

    The Chinese would “balls it up”

    Mahrinda is an unknown quantity.. wants to be a “me too” company, If TATA can do it we can

    Forget VW, Toyota, et al… Too many layers of management to fight through to get a decision made.

    TATA would be the best suitor, JLR is a cash cow for them at the moment, the VH platform could be utilised for the XK, the new Aluminium platform could be used for the Lagonda 4×4/Limousine, if VW can build Bentleys and VW’s on the same platform then why not cover all the bases with RR/AML 4×4’s, XJ/Rapide saloons, Daimler/Lagonda Limousines.

  19. It strikes me AMLneed a new owner and injection of carefully directed cash

    Well managed JLR/AML could work.

    The Toyota link has some merit too, the Lexus technology would become availbale to AML

    Whatever happens I hope AML survive and thrive

  20. AML need access to a new platform, powertrain and infotainment systems very soon. The current chassis can’t be played with much more and has a lot of limitations; too many hard points mean the latest car is too similar to the car it replaces. The Aston engines are good, but their competitors are pulling ahead. There infotainment (ICE, satnav, etc) is dated. I’ve watched an Aston engineer play with and envy the system in an Evoque because its streets ahead. Without input of fresh technology they are in danger of becoming the new Jensen or Bristol; an acquired purchase by British gentry.

  21. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I reckon BMW would be interested in this aquisition. There is a clear sports car gap in their range above the 6 Series, with extensive UK operations already in place it could make a great deal of sense, and Lagonda could be developed into a rival for top-end Range-Rover products

  22. that seems like a better fit.. They may even move excess production over to BMW or MagnaSteyr in Austria…

    Having said that, if they continue doing what they do, then perhaps why shouldn’t JLR?… The disadvantage they have is that their average model range CO2 would be much higher than BMWs as they have MINI to fall back on.

  23. @29 Only if they are officially validated for sale in Europe. And even then, I’m not sure if this would work anyway.. Isn’t JLR listed as a standalone UK company as opposed to JLR being apart of a TATA Automotive UK company. – Not so sure of the overall corporate structure.

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