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Matter of Pride and Dignity; US-based Jaguar won’t allow Indian ownership

Jaguar XJ8 in Liquid Silver

Photo from Jaguar

Jaguar XJ8The Jaguar XJ8 in Liquid Silver

In a recent development over the ownership of Ford’s luxury car brand Jaguar, Ken Gorin, the Chairman of the Jaguar Business Operations Council, believes that they should grant the ownership to neither of the Indian Motor Giants – Tata Group nor Mahindra & Mahindra.

He said, “I don’t believe the US public is ready for ownership out of India of a luxury car brand such as Jaguar. And I believe it would severely throw a tremendous cast of doubt over the viability of the brand.” Jaguar should instead be sold to US-based JPMorgan Chase & Co, the other contender besides Tata and Mahindra.

Gorin was however quick to point out that he wasn’t judging the management capabilities of Tata or M&M — “My concern is perception (in the marketplace), and perception is reality. It’s about saying there are unique image issues with two of the bidders that the other one doesn’t have.”

“Being a luxury brand and not a mass market brand, there are a number of subjective items that create the lustre of a brand,” he added. He added another punch-line, “I don’t think we could have a Chinese-owned Jaguar either.”

Statistics shows that, last year Jaguar derived just about 30% of its sales from North America. Gorin’s decision illustrate how groups with a stake in Jaguar are choosing sides as Ford approaches a decision on selling them. It was few weeks back that about 60 senior shop stewards representing workers at Jaguar and Land rover voted in favor of a resolution supporting the Indian Tata Motor’s bid.

The vote occurred a day after representatives of Tata Motors, M&M and One Equity met separately with British trade-union leaders. Union officials want assurances that a sale of the brands wouldn’t lead to job losses or factory closures.

The Indian Tata group is a highly diversified conglomerate with experience in upscale businesses, its Hotels division took over management of the landmark Pierre hotel in New York in 2005. The Tata group also owns former British stalwarts Tetley Tea and steel company Corus Group Plc., giving the company extensive links to UK business and political leaders.

Ford acquired Jaguar for $2.5 billion in 1989 and Land Rover for $2.75 billion in 2000. The company has put them up for sale as it seeks to refocus on its Ford brand and its North American business. Ford posted losses of $12.6 billion last year and has seen its revenue tumble this year.

  1. Americans are liberal, open-minded and non-racist? Depends on who you take for comparison... :)

  2. The irony is that the US probably was not ready for luxury cars like Jaguar, Aston Martin & some Land Rovers, which is why it looks like Ford are trying to get back to basics - making mundane automobiles for the masses.

    It looks like the UK workers would prefer Tata to take over Jaguar according to BBC & some other news articles about. From experiences watching the car manufacturing industry in the UK over the past few decades, I think I would trust the workers over the men in suits, but that probably won't happen.

    Besides, Jags are made of steel and isn't that what Tata is good at now it owns Corus? Their steel was world renowned for quality when I was growing up.

    Personally, I don't really care who owns Jaguar and I don't think it makes a difference where it is produced. As for mass production it is hard to imagine a car touted as a "luxury" as widely available as other vehicles - isn't luxury supposed to something that is not as common as other commodities? I think that this may be the root of the problem with Jaguar and the guys in suits are getting their wires crossed, or being blatantly racist and not admitting that some of their "luxury" goods have been made in China and India for years.

  3. What Jag's doing is absolutely right. Why dilute a brand's luxury name by selling it to companies who have their strongholds in making cars for the lower and mid-segment of the market?

    It would have been a different issue if M&M or Tata also had a luxury car division.

    IMHO, I don't think either of the companies have the capabilities to handle a luxury brand. Tata is of course getting there slowly with its new Indigo.

  4. check out latest kewl news

    LONDON (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N: Quote, Profile, Research) is poised to name India's Tata Motors (TAMO.BO: Quote, Profile, Research) as preferred bidder for its Jaguar and Land Rover brands, Britain's Sunday Times newspaper reported.

    An announcement could come in the next fortnight, with Tata expected to pay about 1 billion pounds ($2 billion), it added.

    Ford, which is spinning off the British luxury marques to focus on restructuring its loss-making North American operations, said last week it aimed to complete the sale in early 2008.

    Tata is competing in the auction for the luxury brands with rival Indian group Mahindra & Mahindra (MAHM.BO: Quote, Profile, Research) and private equity firm One Equity Partners.

    (Reporting by Ben Hirschler, Editing by Erica Billingham)

    enjoy

  5. Jaguar and LandRover should be returned to a British owned company. TATA should not poke their nose into the day to day running of these iconic British brands and definately NOT make them anywhere in India where the quality is poor and rubbish. As a Englishman I do agree that the brand should remain uniquely 'British' If under Indian ownership they start to 'interfear' with the day to day running of the brands and start producing junk in India then you might as well kiss good by for good to both Jaguar and Landrover.. If they are ONLY a silent partner then both Jaguar and Landrover have a chance. Both brands MUST still be built in the UK otherwise NOONE in the US will buy those brands if they are made in India

  6. @ "An Englishman in America"
    well india too has unique capabilities in manufacturing~~~~and btw here is an update~~~guess who won~~~tata~~~we are takin it home babby

  7. ho! Ho! Ho! The Imperialist, entitled, know-it-all bastards on both sides of the pond are in a tizzy over this one, and guess what! They are both broke, poor as church-mice and living an 18th century dream. They can hardly afford bus-tickets, and stand in government lines for handouts in full arrogant display! Hedgemonious assholes on the way down, as the world motors on, without a pause, or a tear! You mistreated your labor, they are gone, and your asinine Empire dreams with them, go now to the welfare lines in your fifty year old coats, and line up for some truly "Royal" chow, probably donated by the colored lady that served it to you -it is comeuppance time for you guys and I am absolutely wallowing in it!

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