This summer, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) cranked up production to 24 hours at its plant near Liverpool, England, adding 1,000 jobs to help meet demand for its hot-selling and acclaimed Range Rover Evoque. Now, the company is readying the release of its much-anticipated Jaguar F-Type roadster.
The success has stunned analysts and investors, many of whom had said that Tata Motors was making an expensive mistake when it acquired JLR from Ford Motor for $2.3 billion in June 2008.
Tata Motors appears to have succeeded in large part because it did not seek to run JLR from Tata headquarters here. Instead, it has left day-to-day management in the hands of executives in England. It also benefited from projects started under Ford ownership, such as the Evoque, which has won fans, including the exacting hosts of the BBC show Top Gear and the Chinese nouveau riche.
In its last fiscal year, which ended in March, Jaguar Land Rover posted a 27% jump in retail sales, to 306,000 vehicles, and became the primary driver of profit for Tata Motors.
Analysts and competitors credit the turnaround to Tata’s financial reserves, which helped it weather tough times, and its wisdom in granting autonomy to managers in England.
The New York Times