By on November 10, 2010

When Tata bought Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) from Ford in 2008, the general consensus was that Ford was off-loading a massive problem, and that Tata should have their collective heads examined. JLR had been nothing but a cash drain on Ford. Sucking up resources which other divisions (cough-Lincoln-cough) sorely needed. The Jaguar brand was damaged due to the X-Type “fiasco” (note the inverted commas, because I still love my X-Type!) and Land Rover wasn’t really held in much higher regard. Even I, a big Jag-fan, had to concede that I was seeing the final days of JLR. How wrong was I?

The Economic Times of India reports that Tata Motors’ profits have soared to 22.2b rupees (that’s just under $500m to you) for the quarter leading up to the end of September. This represents close to a 100-fold increase from last year. How can this be? Well it was down to those “damaged” brands I was talking about earlier. JLR. Demand for JLR vehicles rose by 43 percent on the back of big demand from the United States and China. Especially for the XJ. JLR wasn’t the only riser.

Tata branded vehicles did extremely well. They rose 21 percent in October of this year. Because of these rising sales, Tata is hiring more staff, reversed a decision to close the manufacturing plants for JLR in the UK and is expanding in India. While this is good news for JLR, one thing keeps nagging me at the back of my head. Is JLR’s success down to the products which Ford helped them develop and Tata is reaping? Or is it down to Tata’s management? While I want to believe the latter, I strongly suspect the former.

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12 Comments on “Tata Will Get By With A Little Help From Their Friends...”

  • avatar

    Of course is the product developed under Ford AND good managing. But I think mostly product.

  • avatar

    dead cat bounce surely… I’ll eat my landrover if JLR is not out of business by 2012.

  • avatar

    Was out and about car shopping recently – and was blown away by the Jag product. The XJ (especially the L) to me (a totally non-Jag guy) might be the nicest thing to wear the badge since those little Harold & Maude things they used to build. If I were Aston Martin, I’d be pissed at the XK-R. I was a little disappointed to see several of the XK-Rs with condensation in the headlight casings however.

    The relative importance of JLR to Tata is more than it was to Ford – so the increased concentration by management is also a good thing.

    I’ll handicap it 75% product, 25% management

  • avatar

    an answer to your question is inevitable. If the current line up rots on the vine or is repalced with lesser offerings, then Ford R&D gets the credit. If the product lines stay fresh and of good quality, then Tata gets the credit.

  • avatar

    I’ve actually thought that Tata made a good call in acquiring Jaguar and LR.  I’d guess (purely a guess) that those names would still ring like sterling in India (and no doubt China). The Indians are going to have a very good sense of the true essence of both brands, and will see that they are handled properly.

    While the luxury end of the business is obviously a stretch for Tata, the LR end of things will do better under guys with a ‘rough conditions’ background.   I’ve been hoping that Tata will come out with a bare-bones rough-rider African-conditions Land Rover, maybe even with carbs and points bare-boned.   THAT would do LR a 3rd-world of good, in their advertising if nothing else.

    On the posh-bits side of things, English leather combined with a splash of over-the-top Indian sourced intricate trim work, might be just the ticket.  English design with Indian infuence is going to be a very opulent interior experience.

    Just keep both  groups the hell away from the electronics, and things will be fine.

  • avatar

    Tata actually does luxury well.
    The opportunity for land-rover are enormous in India.  And
    Bringing Jaguar expertise into Tata vehicles is also a win.  NVH etc.
    Tata also can bring a lot of expertise to expand Jag into China.
    Brand-heavy companies like Jaguar can drag their feet a bit on product innovation as they are selling a brand and a product.  Gives Tata enough time to find the billion or so needed for next generation of vehicles.
    Altogether, a win.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    It is rather sad that Ford wasn’t culturally able to reap the rewards of their efforts. So it goes.

  • avatar
    Dan R

    Ford spent a large fortune bring Jaguar up to speed. The cars have their own Jaguar designed engines and use the best components, i.e., Bilstein shocks and Denso electrics. There are very few Ford derived parts, limited to some electrical and hose connectors.
    It’s a pity they did not have the patience to recoup their investment. Seems to have been a sweeping corporate decision to focus on the core brand. Sounds good I suppose.

  • avatar

    “Is JLR’s success down to the products which Ford helped them develop and Tata is reaping?”
    Having done business with Tata’s Engineering division (heavy electricals and construction), I have a lot of respect for them.  If nothing else, I expect they will do a lot better with JLR than the idiots at British Leyland did.

  • avatar

    Watch out world, Jaguar is Jaguar again. Gotta love the new, world-beating XF and XJ.

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