Since Ford sold Jaguar-Land Rover to Indian conglomerate Tata Motors in 2008, things have generally been on the upswing for the British brands. But its current parent company confirms that it is looking for a potential partner to operate the automaker.
Partner, but not buyer. Natarajan Chandrasekaran , the chairman of Tata Sons Ltd., of which Tata Motors is a division, was clear on this point, saying “We’re not going to sell. Auto is a core business for us. From revenue terms, auto is our largest company.”
But while the purchase of Jaguar-Land Rover by Tata Motors has been a positive development for the British brands, sales of their models have fallen in recent years. In fact, the company has had to take cost-saving measures to the tune of $3.2 billion USD and lay off thousands of workers.
Sales of Jaguar-Land Rover products were also hit by a drop in automotive sales in India, the economic slowdown in China and uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
China is a crucial market for the automaker, and sales fell there by 50% in 2018. 2019 has been no better to date, and Natarajan Chandrasekaran acknowledges that the market is going through a difficult stretch.
Which explains Tata Motors’ search for a partner. Some analysts said last month that the long-term health of the British automaker required a partner with deep pockets. At the time that possibility was nixed by Tata Motors’ top brass.
Ove the past two years, Jaguar-Land Rover has been a net money-loser for Tata Motors, which wants to turn that situation around by 2021. Added Natarajan Chandrasekaran, “Once we do that, then people will believe what I’m saying: I’m not running away.”