The Tatas, the front-runner for bagging Jaguar and Land Rover, on Tuesday got an offer of assistance in winning the race from a development agency located at the same place where the iconic car brands are headquartered.
"We will like to work with Tatas to ensure they have a smooth ride there (in bidding process)," East Midlands Development Agency Chairman Bryan Jackson told PTI in Mumbai. The government sponsored agency is one of the nine English regional development agencies.
Jackson is in India to promote British Midlands, a region in the UK, to domestic companies. Headquarters of both Jaguar and Land Rover are also located in British Midlands.
The Jaguar-Land Rover deal is of significant importance to the region and the takeover of the two brands by the Tatas will bring a significant amount of revenue from India into the British Midlands, he said.
Jackson, who worked with Ford Motors for 23 years before joing Toyota UK as Managing Director (now he works as a consultant to Toyota), said Jaguar-Land Rover need someone like the Tatas to survive.
"There are expected to be no hurdles. Continuation of employment of workers and pension fund are the only two issues (to be sorted out)," he said, adding Ford, which owns the two brands, is keen to do the deal quickly.
Asked how the British view the ownership of large corporations being in the hands of foreign companies, he said 95 per cent of the car companies in UK are owned by firm from the overseas.
"But they employ British people, source components from British Midlands. It is only the ownership that is outside Britain. But the British perceive the cars produced as very British. And thus, Jaguar and Land Rover changing hands from American company Ford to possibly an Indian company has not raised any issues there," he stated. He said of the two, Land Rover is quite successful and is a profit making one. It is the Jaguar which is making losses. But both are quite integrated and Ford cannot sell only Jaguar and retain Land Rover. They have to sell both, he said.
Jackson said he is also meeting Kigfisher Airlines officials during his visit here. The private airline is reportedly interested in starting cargo operations to UK and British Midlands will like if it could consider using East Midlands airport, the largest freight hub in UK outside of London, he said.
Jackson said he is also meeting people from IIT, Mumbai as Rolls Royce is interested in having a tie-up with the institution.
Talking about British Midlands, he said it is an ideal place for Indians to set up base. "Seventeen Indian companies have already started their establishments. There is no minimum requirement for investment and thus even small and medium companies can consider locating their business units there," he said. The British Midlands region offers progressive business environment with a well-educated, skilled and flexible workforce, Jackson said.