Tata Eyeing Ford Disasters – Jaguar & Land Rover

Indian business house Tata is interested in buying Jaguar and Land Rover, two disasters that struggling U.S. auto maker Ford is looking to jettison.

Apparently, Tata Motors is looking to expand beyond India, which now accounts for the overwhelming majority of its sales. Hence its interest in Jaguar and Land Rover.

Jaguar and Land Rover are part of Ford’s luxury Premier Automotive Group, which has fared badly for four out of the last five years.

Ford bought Jaguar in 1990 for $2.5 billion and acquired Land Rover in 2000 for $2.68 billion from BMW.

Of the two acquisitions, Jaguar has been the bigger disaster and often a butt of jokes. It was a common joke in the 1990s that one must buy two Jaguars because one car would always be at the mechanic’s shop with some problem or the other.

Although Jaguar’s quality improved subsequently, the car never lived up to Ford management’s expectations.

In the late 1990s, while driving around Long Island we used to see a lot of Jaguars. But not anymore.

Lexus, BMW and Mercedes have done a better job in ingratiating themselves with the well-heeled folks.

If BMW and Ford couldn’t fix Land Rover, what are the odds that Tatas will be able to improve its fortunes? We are not bullish.

Land Rover and Jaguar share parts and production facilities.

Tatas are not the only folks interested in Jaguar and Land Rover.

Texas Pacific Group and Cerberus Capital Management, which acquired Chrysler recently, are among the private equity companies known to be interested in buying Jaguar and Land Rover.

Ford lost a whopping $12.7 billion in 2006 and has been trying to regain its footing under CEO Alan Mulally.

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