Jaguar Land Rover Needs A New Partner – Not A Buyer, Says Tata Chairman

Tata Motors says that they are now open to find a partner for Jaguar Land Rover but they are not willing to sell the British car maker.

“We’re not going to sell,” said Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons -the holding company that owns Tata Motors- to Bloomberg. “Auto is a core business for us. From revenue terms, auto is our largest company.”

Tata Motors acquired Jaguar Land Rover from Ford in 2008 and turned it into a thriving car maker that enjoyed booming sales in regions like China and Russia. But the British car maker’s performance slowed down so significantly that it had to apply a 2.5 billion-pound ($3.2 billion) savings program and cut thousands of jobs worldwide.

Also Read: Jaguar Land Rover To Halt Production For A Week After Brexit

Tata’s automotive business is facing mounting losses as well, facing a slump in its home market in India, as well as an economic slowdown in China. Add to that the uncertainty over Brexit and it’s no wonder that Tata is seeking for partners.

Chandrasekaran says that sales in China collapsed by 50 percent last year, with 2019 showing so far a minor improvement. He admitted that some of JLR’s issues were self-inflicted, like the vehicle quality and dealer network ones, saying that the whole industry is “going through difficult times”.

JAGUAR-I-PACE-2

Jaguar Land Rover’s problems are bogging down Tata Group as a whole, as they had to write down their investment to the British manufacturer by $3.9 billion. Analysts at Bernstein describe JLR as “severely challenged”, adding that Tata should approach BMW as a buyer, as the German car maker is “awash with cash”. Tata has previously denied reports saying they are looking to sell a stake in JLR.

Chandrasekaran said that Tata is always open to partnerships but they don’t want to “just sell a stake and have no say”. He added: “We are not financial investors, Tata Group, we run companies. I’m not a Blackstone, I’m not a KKR.”

Tata’s target is to stabilize Jaguar Land Rover and put a stop on its losses by 2021. “Once we do that, then people will believe what I’m saying: I’m not running away”, Chandrasekaran added.

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  • Hoe

    What about joining forces with Mahindra’s Pininfarina?
    Seriously, I can not see anybody willing to buy JLR: old tech, quality issues, poor sales…

    • designer_dick

      You can’t see anyone wanting to buy a fairly small company that’s managed to generate over £14bn in profit since 2009? OK then, Nostradamus.

      • TheBelltower

        The problem with JLR is that they see huge swings in profitability. They did well in the years leading up to 2017 because of China. Sales in China weren’t sustainable, and they tanked. Turns out, the Chinese don’t want locally produced premium vehicles. Especially if they are also unreliable. Combined with difficult labor and trade challenges in the UK and Europe, JLR is an extremely difficult company to operate.

        • designer_dick

          They’ve so far had ONE bad financial year under Tata ownership. That’s not a reason to write a business off. If it was, Ford and General Motors would have bitten the dust decades ago.

          • Hoe

            1- Do you know how GM and Ford survived? Because they have bitten the dust several times, deeply, bitterly, FYI.
            2- If JLR are minimally attractive from a business point of view… VW, the Japanese, French, Americans could have just shown interest (read deal) but they didn’t… curious… why creating Lexus instead of purchasing a cheap Jaguar and get the allure… for example…
            3- don’t believe everything you listen or read

          • TheBelltower

            Maybe so. But we don’t know how far they were off their projections. It seems they’ve determined that JLR hasn’t been performing.

          • designer_dick

            No, they’ve determined that a small automaker like JLR doesn’t have the resources necessary to go it alone in things like electrification, autonomous driving and other new technologies.

      • Hoe

        yes, altogether a magnificent money maker which was sold by BMW, Ford and now Tata has problems… it looks like a super bargain, isn’t it? You Keynes dude

  • Dennis James

    This being said, I love the look of the new Land Rover Defender !

    • Matteo Tommasi

      The worst thing they could bring out is the new Defender. They turned one of the last off-roaders in another soccer mom SUV.

      • Dennis James

        Nice compliment, actually. To make an off-roader look so good as to be desired by soccer moms, no that’s an achievement !

        • Matteo Tommasi

          The problem is that it isn’t an offroader anymore. It won’t go offroad as the old one.

  • PhilMcGraw

    Nothing has been done in the time that Tata has taken ownership to assuage owners concerns about reliability and that’s their biggest issue.

    JLR needs a new owner. With their recent developments in electric vehicles, I think they could be a good asset to another company that can take advantage of that plus improve their reliability. Tesla would probably be interested in Land Rover since they have yet to produce an electric vehicle with off road chops.

    • designer_dick

      With all due respect, Tesla is in worse financial shape than JLR is.

      • TheBelltower

        How so? Yes they are cash strapped, and not a suitable partner/buyer for JLR. But Tesla is cash strapped because they are a 2500 day old automotive company that’s building production capacity to accommodate new product launches and global demand. Exactly the opposite of JLR. Tata would love to have that problem.

        • MarketAndChurch

          Exactly!

    • MarketAndChurch

      Exactly. They need an owner that has platforms to bring Jaguar/Land Rover’s costs down. J/LR doesn’t have the funds to develop platforms/vehicles from the ground up, and its expensive for them to do electric/autonomous tech on their own. One of the top5 automakers would be an ideal suitor.

  • Ben

    They really should have built off the success of the Jaguar F-Type. For sometime it was somewhat of a Cinderella story in the automotive world, redemption for Jaguar. I always felt the F-Type SVR was such a let down, they should have made that the craziest track monster possible. Kick butt and take records.

    • Mike anonymous

      I can agree. Towards the beginning About 2008 – 2012 Were quite great years for the company, (At least in regards to) the revitalization of JLR itself.

      Not only (during this 4 to 5 year period) had the new Jaguar F-Type been introduced, but Jaguar at the time had a vehicle that not simply rivaled, but was far ahead of the S-Class & 7-Series with the XJ. At the time there was also the promise of the ‘Micro-Turbine Hybrid Halo Vehicle’ the C-X75. On The LandRover front the LRX-Concept had been brought to life as what had been one of the most influential SUVs’ on the Market, The LR-RR-Evoque, followed by the 2013 Range Rover.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/88302f4bfaf56e893a492027c87e84c54991bcda9317318bccb1d6778f1539a8.png

      The company futures seemed extremely bright technologically, as well as in design equating to desirability. The great promises for the future of JLR was absolutely there. Rather the problem had not been the plan, but rather its’ execution. In My Personal Opinion, (internally around 2014/2015) The execution had only begun to falter when the vision began to change.

      I do believe that Tata had, and still has, the resources to make JLR a success, but what it needs is focus. On Product desirability (Beyond The Marque it/them-selves), Quality, and the the determination to see their technological advancements through. When it came to execution it seemed they were always so close, but not quite there on every mark. I think putting more focus and effort into each product created individually as well as bringing a more desirable and focus product range and design language for JLR, will bring about success for the group as a whole.

      What they need is a revitalization and vision for the next era, Not one created from, or decided on, by market trends in powertrain, design, or products; but rather a return to form that learns from the mistakes of the past, whilst maintaining the spirit and individuality of both the LandRover & Jaguar marques.

      • Ben

        I can’t agree more, mike. The XJ was such a great platform, but they did not keep improving upon it. To this day, they still look striking. I’ve never been a Land Rover fan, except the classic Defender, so I’ve never payed attention to the brand’s evolution closely. Yet again, like you said, JLR are still more than capable of continuing where they left off years ago.

    • Merc1

      That wouldn’t have done anything to save the business. That is just a vanity project.

      M

  • Marcus Meyn

    Toyota should buy the brand, they are pretty good with wiring and electronics.

  • Merc1

    Jaguar is just dead weight. All of their cars are outclassed and outdated. Their SUVs are the only thing really keeping them going.

    M

  • the ghost of Sergio runs into the room.

  • benT

    “Jaguar Land Rover Needs A New Partner ”

    I’m your baby!
    I’ll need two wives to go with that.
    and $2million.

  • Matt

    Unfortunately nothing short of a new platform will fix the E-Pace’s weight issue. They could go all-alloy but that would put the price up to the F-Pace.

  • Ary Wisesa

    JLR biggest problem is its tarnished reputation in reliability area. Despite their extremely good looking SUV lines (Ranger Rover family in particular), when customers finally found out about their below average reliability, they would never re-purchase anymore.

  • Harry_Wild

    The China made a recent investment into JLR of around $10 1/2 billion for 1/4 of the company. I guess that is already used up now?

  • MarketAndChurch

    I agree with everything except for the wood/leather, and the E-pace. They need the E-pace because of that booming segment might be Jaguar’s only money-maker for the forseeable future.

    And real wood and leather is just not that big with the demo buying up their competitors.

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