JLR in local foray, opens plant in Pune | autos | Hindustan Times
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JLR in local foray, opens plant in Pune

Three years since Tatas acquired Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), the UK luxury carmaker opened its assembly plant in India on Friday. Manu P Toms reports.

autos Updated: May 27, 2011 21:20 IST
Manu P Toms

Three years since Tatas acquired Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), the UK luxury carmaker opened its assembly plant in India on Friday.

The Pune plant of JLR will start with the assembly of its best selling model Freelander 2, which comes in completely knocked down form from JLR's Halewood plant in UK.

The Pune plant, which became operational in eight months' time, has the capacity to assemble 15 Land Rovers daily, yet the company will start with around five units a day.

JLR, which has been turned around to a star performer to post £1-billion profit this fiscal under Tata's patronage, has announced an ambitious plan for the next few years. "We will expand both in terms of geographic footprint and product portfolio," said Ralf Speth, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover. "We will increase our presence in US, Germany, Russia, China, Brazil and India. We are working on 40 'product actions' for the next five years."

According to Speth, India is "the second home market" for JLR. The JLR sales in India more than tripled to 891 units in the last fiscal, although this is just a fraction of what JLR sold in China - 27,000.

"There is no reason why India should not go up the same way China did. There may be certain time difference. Indian premium market will grow rapidly," he said.

Speth also said that the company would start research and development in India.

Rohit Suri, head, premium car division, Tata Motors, who heads JLR marketing in India, said: "By September, we will be present in 12 major cities in India with 14 outlets."

Carl Peter Forster, CEO and managing director of Tata Motors, said, "We are in discussion with government for a new duty regime for the assembling of completely knocked down units."