Following a failed bid to secure a helping hand from the UK government, rumors arose that Jaguar Land Rover owner Tata Group was considering selling its controlling stake in the British automaker.
The so-called rescue package didn’t see the light of day because the government felt Tata wasn’t exactly in dire financial straits. If it wanted to rustle up some dough, it would have to look elsewhere. On Monday, Tata made it clear: Jaguar Land Rover will not become an orphan again.
Jaguar Land Rover has increased its savings target for the year to $3.3 billion (£2.5 billion) following a $540 million (£413 million) pre-tax loss for the quarter ending in June. Losses are hardly uncommon within an industry shaken by the pandemic, but JLR went into this year already confronting an uphill battle.
In 2019, the company was deep in the midst of a restructuring plan aiming at $2.5 billion in life-sustaining savings. Unfortunately, the move required the elimination of thousands of positions as it tried to imagine the effects of Brexit and contend with falling sales in its largest markets. That includes China, which the firm assumed would offer continued growth in the months leading up to coronavirus’ big debut and increasing political tensions between the Communist Party of China and United Kingdom.
Tata Motors has been hunting for a new CEO at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), and new reports claim the search is narrowing in scope. At the start of 2020, the company announced that Ralf Speth would step down as chief executive in September, and that the quest for his replacement had begun — though it technically began in 2019.
We’ve since learned he will stick around as non-executive vice-chairman of JLR and supervise the transition of leadership, with details now emerging about his likely successor. It’s a clever way of keeping him around as he ages into retirement at 65 years, as per the parent company’s corporate policy.
According to the Financial Times, Tata has narrowed it down to three candidates. Internally, JLR seems as though it would like to promote its engineering lead, Nick Rogers. But former Audi CEO Bram Schot and BMW development boss Klaus Fröhlich are also under consideration, in addition to Fred Schulze — Audi’s product line manager at the Ingolstadt plant.
Jaguar Land Rover has decided to stall production at two of its British factories for several weeks. Starting in late February, JLR intends to stop work at both its Castle Bromwich Assembly and Solihull plants until the end of March. The factories won’t be totally inactive for the duration; the manufacturer claims there will be half days intermixed with full-day closures.
Unlike the bulk of plant idlings taking place across the globe (though mostly in China), this has nothing to do with the coronavirus. While the outbreak has begun disrupting supply chains as the PRC attempts to keep the illness in check by barring people inside their homes, JLR said it’s stalling UK production to address falling demand and Brexit complications — the latter of which is beginning to feel like a lame excuse.
Ralf Speth, the longtime CEO of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), is stepping down. Parent company Tata Motors confirmed the move, saying Speth would continue serving as a non-executive vice chairman on the board holding company and advisor to JLR.
At 64, Speth is easing into retirement after having led the company for the last ten years. He’s scheduled to leave his post in September, having spent the brunt of his tenure expanding the company’s global footprint.
Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chairman of the Tata Sons holding company, said a search committee has been formed will work closely with him to identify a suitable successor in the coming months. But news of Speth’s prospective replacement followed closely after the retirement announcement.
Last week, we examined the precarious situation impacting the way Jaguar Land Rover does business. If you want the abridged version, JLR isn’t sure what to do about Brexit, overestimated the Chinese market, and is concerned with tightening emission rules in Europe. The company’s now mulling the layoff of a sizable portion of its workforce to stem financial losses while parent company Tata considers what life might be like if it sold off its British properties.
Refreshingly, JLR isn’t secretive about its problems and doesn’t attempt to spin them into something positive. It knows it’s confronting real problems. It wants us to know that, too.
Jaguar Land Rover finds itself in a truly unfortunate situation. Like many manufacturers, it mistakenly presumed China would be a continual source of sales growth. But JLR also has to contend with the uncertainty of Brexit and tightening emission rules across Europe. The one-two-three punch helped contribute to the $4.4-billion loss the company posted in its latest quarterly earnings report. Having also lost cash in the previous two quarters, the automaker says it will probably need to reduce its 42,500-person workforce by around 10 percent this year.
While there isn’t much to be done about the economic uncertainties surrounding Brexit, which now seems to be perpetually stalled, China really should have been better to JLR. Unlike their mainstream counterparts, luxury vehicles have fared much better in the Asian market. Unfortunately, it was not to be for Jaguar Land Rover; the company is now looking at North America the way an injured tightrope walker might view a safety net.
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.
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.
While our Ace of Base series delights in revealing just how bargain basement a mainstream vehicle can get, none of those rides hold a candle to the spartan purgatory that was the Tata Nano.
Billed as the world’s cheapest car upon its release in 2008, the Indian-market four-door was tailor-made to lure that country’s growing market of would-be vehicle owners off motorcycles and into a car with two cylinders, 37 horsepower, and a rear hatch that didn’t open.
Not unexpectedly, the vehicle quickly developed a stigma.
It’s not often a car company, or any group of people for the matter, will admit mistakes – particularly billion dollar mistakes. That’s why the launch of the all-new Tata GenX Nano is refreshing. Based on former CEO Ratan Tata’s dream of moving Indians who transport their entire families on scooters and motorcycles into safer – albeit, basic – four wheeled automobiles, the very fact the original 2009 Nano was the least expensive car on sale anywhere in the world proved to be an albatross around the Nano’s tiny neck. Even Indians aspiring to the middle class of a developing country, it turns out, aspire to be seen in something other than the cheapest car in the world. They’d rather buy a used Maruti Suzuki Alto 800, the hatchback that more or less defines India’s entry level car segment. In recognition of that reality, the new GenX Nano will now be positioned as an entry level hatchback to more directly compete with the Alto 800, Hyundai Eon and the newly announced Renault Kwid.
Though I don’t watch broadcast or cable television much anymore, I like the idea of the ABC’s Shark Tank. Actually, when I still had cable, I watched the original Canadian version of the show, Dragon’s Den, since Windsor, Ontario’s CBC affiliate station is generally part of Detroit area cable bundling. As a tinkerer, inventor and small business owner, the idea of a show premised on pitching your business idea to possible angels is appealing to me. However, while all of the “sharks” undoubtedly have been more successful entrepreneurs than I have been, sometimes they make investments that just don’t make sense to me.
On last Friday’s show, one of the potential investors, Robert Herjavec, pledged $5 million in funding to a startup named Zero Pollution Motors to start building cars propelled by compressed air. ZPM says that they will start building the cars in Hawaii sometime later this year.
If you live in Brazil and are pining away for a Jaguar or Land Rover, Tata Motors will open a factory for the luxury marques in time for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
According to Tata Motors’ managing director, Karl Slym, the company is developing a new modular platform, to be the basis of a “global” range of vehicles that it claims will “leapfrog” VW’s MBQ technology. The new vehicles will be rolled out over the next six years.
Though Tata has had more success selling commercial vehicles than cars, Tata says that it is going to build a family of world class passenger vehicles based on what it’s calling the Advanced Modular Platform (AMP). Tata badly needs new product to replace an ageing lineup of cars which has been doing poorly as the Indian market has experienced a downturn.