Tata Motors first acquired and finally brought in the British icons Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR) for Indian market. It is nostalgically historic moment for Tata as well as for all Indians. JLR is owned by an Indian company. My excitement has a different reason. I had visited the Jaguar factory in Coventry in 1982.
Interestingly as reported, ‘Tata Motors reported on Friday its first annual loss in at least eight years, hit by slowing demand and losses at its Jaguar and Land Rover unit it bought in 2008’. It is because of the global meltdown that has affected the western world in the worst way, and that was the JLR’s best market. Interestingly JLR has increased its sales in Russia and China even with the crisis world over in auto sector.
Many a time, I keep on asking if India can become a world power in automobiles, particularly passenger cars. Today Tata Motors is the only major Indian player. Tata Motors was late comer in passenger cars. Tata Motors tried to push its first real passenger car ‘Indica’ in markets outside but it has hardly succeeded. However, the acquisition of JLR has certainly given hope for Tata Motors, as its product range has gone wider starting from to Nano to big cat Jaguar i.e. from micro-priced cars to one among the highly priced luxury ones.
Nano could push Tata Motors as globally recognized car manufacturer. Its preproduction launches in the auto expos of developed country got exciting reviews. With the potential of its very high fuel efficiency and better emission control, it can take Tata Motors to its height.
I am sure one day even JLR will outsource major manufacturing to low-cost India without affecting its brand. And Tata Motors will focus on getting higher in its quality ranking.
Tata Motors has today all the resources including R&D centres and can afford to build the best to maintain and move to global class. Its JLR vehicles are gas guzzlers. It will need some breakthroughs in technologies or switch over to better high breed technologies to compete with global players such as Toyota and BMW.
Somehow, I think Tata motors must promote younger leadership to plan the future products and run its operation rather than depending on superannuating heads who have already reached the plateau. However, it is for Ratan to decide.