JLR to develop first new range under Tata ownership

Tata Motors, the owner of the British luxury car brand Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), yesterday said that it will introduce three new entry-level cars including a sedan, a sports car and a station wagon across markets to boost its sales volume.

Since buying JLR from Ford Motors in 2008 for $2.3 billion, JLR has been selling models that were made by Ford, but speaking at the company's 65th annual general meeting, Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Motors said at that all these three entry-level models will be the first range of vehicles to be developed under the ownership of Tata Motors.

The acquisition of JLR by Tata Motors was criticised by analysts during the global economic crisis and described as a white elephant that even led the UK government to refuse to underwrite a €366-million loan passed by the European Investment Bank in 2009.

But JLR achieved an unexpected turnaround and posted an 81-per cent increase in sales for the first quarter ending June to Rs15,387 crore, from Rs8,508 crore for the reporting quarter last year. (See: JLR drives Tata Motors to profit in April-June) 

Ratan Tata, who did not forget the criticism, said yesterday, "Last year, there was a tremendous amount of criticism for the JLR buy. There were concerns that this purchase will burden our company with high losses. But I am happy to state that both the brands have posted a great comeback."
Of the $3 billion loan taken to fund the JLR acquisition, Ratan Tata said that Tata Motors has repaid $1.98 billion.

With production capacity being saturated at its existing plant in Uttarakhand, Tata Motors is planning to increase its commercial vehicle capacity at its Dharwad plant, especially for its mini-truck, Ace and bus models, both of which are experiencing strong demand.