Tatas take a look at Jaguar’s new models

According to a media report, the British luxury car maker Jaguar has shown its new models and the planned product cycle to its probable new parent company, Tata Motors.

Tata Motors was named earlier this month as the preferred bidder by the US car giant Ford for the sale of its two British luxury brands, Jaguar and Land Rover, after evaluating interests by two other suitors — India’s Mahindra and Mahindra and private equity firm OneEquity.

“We have shown Tata our new model lines and the planned product cycle,” Ian Callum, director (design), Ford Motor Company, who is responsible for the Jaguar’s new XF and XK model ranges, told Financial Times.

The Tata group company is currently holding advanced-level talks for buying Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford and a final decision is expected to be announced by the end of February.

“The two national cultures (Jaguar and Land Rover) appear to fit together very well and Tata is being very respectful about what we are doing,” Callum told the financial daily. However, he stopped short of acknowledging Tata’s purchase of Jaguar and Land Rover for an estimated $2 billion.

The executive told the newspaper that Jaguar’s management was “entirely relaxed” about the prospect of Tatas taking over the carmaker. The daily noted that Ian Cullum believed the possible takeover would allow unfettered development for Jaguar.

Tatas have pipped Indian automaker Mahindra and Mahindra as well as US-based private equity firm OneEquity, led by former Ford CEO Jacques Nasser, to attain the preferred status to hold advanced discussions for a final deal.

The Tatas, as owners of Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus, are already one of the top suppliers for Jaguar and Land Rover.

According to the Financial Times, Ian Cullum said there had been frequent tensions in the relationship between Jaguar and Ford, following the purchase by the latter in 1989. Ford had bought Jaguar for about $1.4 billion.

“He disclosed that, in spite of Jaguar management denials at the time, the X-Type small Jaguar — sales of which have fallen far below expectations — was essentially designed in Detroit and presented as close to a fait accompli to reluctant designers and engineers at Jaguars Whitley design centre, near the Midlands city of Coventry,” the report said..

The report pointed out that many of the problems associated with Jaguar cars, which have persistently failed to attract enough buyers and its descent into losses that hit around $600 million several years ago, lay within Jaguar itself.

It had failed to “move on” and keep pace with its major rivals, Ian Cullum added.