Tata Motors: Seriously, We're Totally Not Interested in Dropping Jaguar Land Rover

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
tata motors seriously we re totally not interested in dropping jaguar land rover

It apparently needed to be said. As forces conspire against it, Indian auto conglomerate Tata Motors decided to pour cold water on rumors that it’s mulling a sell-off of Jaguar Land Rover, or perhaps some part of it.

Sure, there’s many troubles facing its British subsidiary, not least of which is the hazy future promised under Brexit. Then there’s cooling sales in the West and trouble in China — oh, and regulatory pressure in Europe and the continued decline of the traditional sedan. JLR lost a lot of money this year. Rumors abound of a big job cull in the New Year, too. Still, Tata says it has a plan, and that the plan will work.

In a Christmas Eve statement reported by Autocar, Tata and JLR Chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran said, “I would like to clarify that we remain committed to the long-term growth and success of JLR.”

He continued. “JLR will continue to face global headwinds being experienced by the auto industry and, to address them, the management is taking the right steps to drive operational excellence, whilst continuing to invest in innovative products and technology to stay competitive globally. There is no truth to the rumours that Tata Motors is looking to divest our stake in JLR or discontinue the Jaguar brand.”

While Land Rover has new products on the way, including a revamped Range Rover Evoque and the upcoming Defender, much speculation surrounds the car-packed Jaguar brand’s future. Sales of the F-Pace and E-Pace SUVs are not fully compensating for declining sales of the brand’s traditional range. There’s talk of the brand going electric-only. Meanwhile, Europe’s sudden distaste for diesel and a sales slump in China, where JLR does a quarter of its business, has only compounded the automaker’s woes.

JLR reported a $276 million loss in the first quarter of the 2018/2019 fiscal year, with the following quarter coming in $114 million in the red. A not-so-cheerful Financial Times report published just before Christmas said the automaker might cut 5,000 positions, worsening the dark clouds hanging over workers’ heads. JLR employs 40,000 in the UK.

Tata’s response to a tumultuous industry landscape is its “Project Change” — a $3.16 cost-cutting plan designed to stimulate cash flow. While the Land Rover and Jaguar brands will remain under an Indian-owned Union Jack, job losses seem inevitable. It’s meant to be a quick turnaround, too — Project Change’s timeline is 18 months.

“Together with our ongoing product offensive and calibrated investment plans, these efforts will lay the foundations for long-term sustainable growth,” JLR CEO Ralf Speth said at the end of October.

[Image: Jaguar Land Rover]

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Dec 26, 2018

    May be Bill Ford will buy JLR back, the crown jewels, since Mulally and even Fields are not around anymore? He was smart enough to bring Hackett on the board so it is quite possible. Then they can ignore Lincoln again or may be even kill it since it is not a crown jewel.

  • BklynPete BklynPete on Dec 27, 2018

    Thanks for reminding us that Billy Ford is a charter member of the Lucky Sperm Club. Every stupid decision Ford's made in the past 20 years has his name all over it.

  • Dusterdude @El scotto , I'm aware of the history, I have been in the "working world" for close to 40 years with many of them being in automotive. We have to look at situation in the "big picture". Did UAW make concessions in past ? - yes. Do they deserve an increase now ? -yes . Is their pay increase reasonable given their current compensation package ? Not at all ! By the way - are the automotive CEO's overpaid - definitely! (That is the case in many industries, and a separate topic). As the auto industry slowly but surely moves to EV's , the "big 3" will need to be producing top quality competitive vehicles or they will not survive.
  • Art_Vandelay “We skipped it because we didn’t think anyone would want to steal these things”-Hyundai
  • El scotto Huge lumbering SUV? Check. Unknown name soon to be made popular by Tiktok ilk? Check. Scads of these showing up in school drop-off lines? Check. The only real over/under is if these will have as much cachet as Land Rovers themselves? A bespoken item had to be new at one time. Bonus "accepted by the right kind of people" points if EBFlex or Tassos disapproves.
  • El scotto No, "brothers and sisters" are the core strength of the union. So you'll take less money and less benefits because "my company really needs helped out"? The UAW already did that with two-tier employees and concessions on their last contract.The Big 3 have never, ever locked out the UAW. The Big 3 have agreed to every collective bargaining agreement since WWII. Neither side will change.
  • El scotto Never mind that that F-1 is a bigger circus than EBFlex and Tassos shopping together for their new BDSM outfits and personal lubricants. Also, the F1 rumor mill churns more than EBFlex's mind choosing a new Sharpie to make his next "Free Candy" sign for his white Ram work van. GM will spend a year or two learning how things work in F1. By the third or fourth year GM will have a competitive "F-1 LS" engine. After they win a race or two Ferrari will protest to highest F-1 authorities. Something not mentioned: Will GM get tens of millions of dollars from F-1? Ferrari gets 30 million a year as a participation trophy.