By on December 26, 2018

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.”

2017 Land Rover Discovery, Image: © 2017 Matthew Guy

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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20 Comments on “Tata Motors: Seriously, We’re Totally Not Interested in Dropping Jaguar Land Rover...”

  • avatar

    What’s the picture of an Explorer doing in an article about JLR.

  • avatar

    I think I have $3.16 to give to JLR. Oh, you meant ‘billion’, oh, well, um… maybe next time?

    • 0 avatar

      Jaguar is already building crossovers based on landrover products such as the F pace and E pace, plus the new small all electric I pace.
      BMW , Mercedes etc have moved from sedans to SUVs and crossovers , not that hard to do.
      Anyway for a lot of places , the jaguar dealer carries Range Rover as well, so they get the volume of either sedans, cross overs or suvs

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Hate to see them die, but given the direction of the market (SUV’s) combined with Jag’s traditional products (Sedans, Wagons, and sports cars) I don’t see how they save it. They can build SUV’s but that is a highly contested space full of known quantities, not to mention where Land Rover lives. Looking at brands with similar storylines, Volvo is far more likely to make this transition and frankly I’m not all that optimistic on that one either.

  • avatar

    It really looked like the LR3/LR4 was getting them good traction in the US. The new Discovery is such an abomination, it’s hard to believe that design got put into production, that will kill any momentum that line had. If they were going to ugly it up, they should’ve just made it longer to get cargo room behind the third row to compete with the GL and the like.

    I actually think their product mix of SUVs and premium sedans is where you want to be, they’re not executing it well enough.

  • avatar

    “Still, Tata says it has a plan, and that the plan will work.”

    The Cylons had a plan too. Said so at the beginning of every episode of “Battlestar Galactica.” As it turns out, Cylons were good at bulls**tting.

    And now I step off my nerd soapbox.

    We’ve dragged Jag through the mud so many times, but I’ll say it again: they need Jaguar styling and Jaguar interiors.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I mean, they did wipe out like 99.99 percent of mankind and sent them fleeing all over the galaxy. I think their plan was more credible than JLR at this point.

    • 0 avatar

      As Mike Tyson famously said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

    • 0 avatar

      Jaguar styling died when Tata got involved.

      • 0 avatar

        General consensus seems to be that Tata is pretty hands off with Jaguar, and the current direction of styling (that started with the original XF) predates the 2008 buyout.

        • 0 avatar

          Maybe Ford was stopping the styling from going downhill.

          • 0 avatar

            Again, the XF was fully developed pre-Tata, and has just retained its Ford-era styling, the XE is a downsized XF, the XJ would have also been developed under the Ford era (as it was out within a year of Tata), and the SUV’s are mostly just the sedan features applied to trim boxes. If you don’t like what they’ve done, Ian Callum is to blame. At the most, Tata hasn’t actively stepped in to force change.

            Also, the S-type came out under Ford’s watch. While the current crop might be a little too bland, I don’t think anyone wants the S-type back.

          • 0 avatar

            I will 100% take an S-Type exterior over their current sedans.

          • 0 avatar

            Yes the first XF came out as a concept just before Tata bought Jag from Ford, but that was just a re skin and interior makeover of the S type.
            The Second XF is a completly new chassis , out since 2015, which it shares with the brand new XE.
            helps if you did some research instead of guess work.
            The run away sucess of the Evoque was all done under Tata and F pace and Range Rover Velar share the same chassis , developed from the XF, both are more crossovers than Land Rovers SUV boxes

  • avatar

    Go retro or get in the grave.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

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