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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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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.

  • Kars This article was about Ford not Tesla - you are clearly confused.
  • Ollicat Those are individual charging stations vs entire gas stations that have 8 - 16 pumps. And gas stations take 3 minutes to fill vs 30 min to hours for a charging station. And gas pumps are much more likely to be working vs charging statins. Nice try with more propaganda though.
  • Richard Poore Sure, as the article itself notes (hence my ire) California has mandated that all new vehicles sold in state be EV by 2035. They require EV or hybrid by 2026. Since the author admits to this mandate it seems that the article title is clickbait... was really hoping that there was some sort of changes in the CA position since the state is sorely behind on where they need to be with charging stations for this sort of requirement.
  • VoGhost When will Audi eliminate the fake, oversized grills that impede aerodynamics?