Beijing's decision to cut its new car registrations by two-third in the capital city this year doesn't deter Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover's plans to start local assembly in China. A local partner is likely to be announced very soon.
Tata Motors managing directer Carl-Peter Forster was in China last week for this purpose. "We will not reveal the whereabouts of our executives," said a company spokesperson.
JLR is in talks with top Chinese SUV maker Great Wall Motor Co for a tie-up, Reuters reported from Beijing on Monday. A partnership with Chery Automobile was talked about a few months back.
JLR goes ahead with Chinese assembly plan amid concerns that other congested cities may follow Beijing's example of limiting new car registrations. "We have looked at that and to the extent I have understood from JLR colleagues, we do not believe it will impact our volumes in the near future," C Ramakrishnan, chief financial officer, Tata Motors told analysts after its third quarter results.
Although the latest reports predict a downtrend in the world's largest automobile market, Tata Motors is bullish about China. China has emerged as the third largest market for JLR after the UK and US, accounting for 11.7% of its total volume.
JLR sales in China almost doubled to 26,200 units in 2010 and it has entered into a commitment with China to sell 40,000 units this year. The company will add 40 dealerships in China this year taking its total dealership count to 100.
"In China, for Jaguar, we needed to incorporate some product features in our models particularly on the rear seat entertainment and that is being introduced into the product just now. I think that should support our further volume growth in China," said Ramakrishnan.