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Tatas in race to buy Jaguar, Land Rover

Both these brands are earmarked for disposal by car giant Ford Motors, reports Suprotip Ghosh.
Hindustan Times | By Suprotip Ghosh, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUL 19, 2007 01:27 AM IST

After Corus, the Tata Group might now be close to another mammoth global acquisition. According to media reports in the UK, Tata Motors is in the early stages of evaluating a deal to buy out two of the world's most enduring car badges — Land Rover and Jaguar — which have been earmarked for disposal by struggling American car giant Ford Motors.

When contacted, a Tata Motors spokesperson said, "We have absolutely no comments to make." One source familiar with the position said Tata Motors had signed a confidentiality agreement with Ford recently.

Jaguar and Rover are valued at $1.5 billion, according to research reports. Sources said that the proposed deal could catapult the Tatas into the ranks of luxury marques like Porsche and Audi. The Jaguar, in terms of sheer brand value, competes with the top luxury cars in the world. The Land Rover is the world's oldest surviving rough terrain vehicle brand after Jeep.

Indian consumers may benefit if Tata indeed buys out Rover and Jaguar. And the cost benefits and the synergies in a low-cost India environment would immensely help both companies.

Jaguar and Rover would also find a much larger, worldwide market, at a fraction of the cost estimated now. They could leverage a Fiat-style model, piggy-backing on the Tata network, finding enthusiasts and buyers in the obscure, but rich corners of the developing world.

Land Rover, Jaguar, Aston Martin and Volvo make up Ford's Premier Automotive Group. Ford has denied plans to sell Volvo, though automotive analysts expect Volvo to be sold as part of Ford's new restructuring plan, announced in January.

In markets like India, Ford Motor Co is trying out innovative things to gain market share.

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