PSA Group, Always on the Prowl, Has One Eye on Jaguar Land Rover
There’s always that one guy who says, “If you ever getting around to selling that thing, call me first.” Usually, this statement is directed at a classic car that spends more time collecting dust than miles. In PSA Group’s case, the message involves another automaker.
The French automaker, which hit Geneva last month looking for love, apparently has an interest in the struggling Jaguar Land Rover.
Owned by India’s Tata Motors, JLR finds itself in a rough patch. Hit by a triple salvo of tightening emissions regulations in Europe, falling sales in China, and a plunging sedan market, the automaker has embarked on a plan to get its financial house in order. An impatient Tata lit the fire after profits turned to steep losses in 2018.
Eyeing the British automaker from across the Channel, PSA, which recently acquired Opel-Vauxhall from GM (and turned around the money-losing business in a hurry), likes the idea of adding some prestigious global brands to its corporate fold.
In an interview with Autocar India, PSA Group CEO Carlos Tavares said a merger or acquisition isn’t outside the realm of possibility, but he wouldn’t want it to distract the automaker from its main business.
While the two automakers haven’t spoken a word about the possibility, Tavares said “if there are opportunities, of course, we will consider it.”
“Why not? Why shouldn’t we discuss it?” he continued. “It depends on what kind of value creation we could generate.”
“With Opel, we have demonstrated that we can turn around a company that was in the red for 20 years, in 12 months. So this is something we know how to do.”
For its part, Tata claims JLR is not up for grabs.
“There is no truth to the rumours that Tata Motors is looking to divest its stake in JLR,” a company spokesperson said.
That may be true today, but what about in a year’s time, perhaps after JLR’s efforts pan out in a manner deemed unacceptable by its parent company? Who knows. It certainly sounds like Tavares is playing the role of the co-worker who eyes his colleague’s car from across the parking lot, putting out little suggestions to secure his place at the front of the buyer Rolodex.
PSA, of course, is no stranger to rumors this spring. Reports that the automaker was eyeing Fiat Chrysler for a merger or alliance fell flat, and word of a potential pact to jointly develop cars in Europe has so far born no fruit.
[Image: Jaguar Land Rover]
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Maybe seeking a beachhead for its own brands too? I'd be more than interested in a 308 wagon...
This won’t happen. A couple of years ago Tata was looking to expand its JLR operation by adding another brand. So now all of a sudden Tata is going to pull back and sell? Tata have had a run of good years with JLR so I don’t see them running just yet. If ever there was going to be a merger here it will be between FCA and JLR. JLR have lots of components that would interest Alfa and Jeep/ viva Versa. There is much more commercial logic to an FCA / JLR merger than a PSA/ JLR merger. Jaguar won’t suddenly become front wheel drive. In addition JLR have invested big in a new engine factory and a range of class leading engines, they have developed an electric car. Their building blocks are good. PSA’s building blocks? I’m not so sure....