Is a Tata Jaguar any worse than Ford Jaguar?

After years of being unable to make a profit off Jaguar, Ford is trying to sell it. One of the interested buyers is Tata, a highly profitable Indian firm that runs several luxury brands including Taj hotels and Tetley Tea. They also make cars and trucks.

So where exactly is this fellow, a leading Jaguar dealer, coming from when he informs the Wall Street Journal:
"I don't believe the U.S. public is ready for ownership out of India" of a luxury-car brand such as Jaguar, Mr. Gorin said in an interview. "I believe it would severely throw a tremendous cast of doubt over the viability of the brand."
Later in the article, he tries to make it an equal opportunity offense, observing:
I don't mean to be negative towards anyone. I don't think we could have a Chinese-owned Jaguar either.
Oh, well. Okay then.

34 comments:

  1. Well the American public probably aren't ready for it, and it is difficult to change stereotypical views held by such a stubborn nation.

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  2. There is always a first and then people get used to it. Anyways the brands are going to Tata's fold, soon it's going to be like natural as if nothing major happened.

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  3. The TATA brand is a well-established brand in India. As you would know, the TATA group has a diversified portfolio of brands whether it be in the steel industry ( Corus, for example) or other industries such as automobiles, hotels etc. So, they know how to manage brands. Plus, they are a highly efficient group and have always been since their inception. The only difference is that they are now going global (though frankly, the Indian market itself provides ample scope). I would be surprised if the American public subscribed to the view of this gentleman. Rather, i believe that people will appreciate the core values that the TATA's live by, especially their work ethic. Assuming they strike the Jaguar deal, one would hope their efforts will maximise value for shareholders and help in growing the value and visibility of brand jaguar. Further, i must add that the gentleman's remarks show that even businessmen wear blinkers. Indian business talent, managerial skills etc have developed over decades (pre and post market-liberalisation)and therefore one finds Indians at the top rung in global companies(Citibank, Pepsi etc)and as successful entrepreneurs/businessmen(of course with great inputs in higher education from American universities and India's IIM's/IIT's). So, clearly, talent and ability to manage a brand/business is not the deficiency here. The deficiency arises out of warped ideas and perceptions which are relics of a Cold-War era when there was little Indo-US cultural (and business) exchange and the only reports newspapers carried of India were one of poverty, starvation, snake-charmers and elephants! Now, i wouldn't say it was all fake but i certainly feel that it was exaggerated. Actually,it was bound to be so, considering the complexity, variety and diversity of India and the fact that one can't generalise its people culturally or economically.

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  4. JB, I hope that we aren't as stubborn as all that. What gives me hope is the Korean experience -- Samsung and LG made it as brands in less than a decade or so.

    Sidhartha, what you are saying is true ... but the Tata image of austerity plays well in India but may not play as well in the US. In the US, you need to have either style/flashiness or quality. Preferably both. It really comes down to what Samsung and LG did, which was to demonstrate quality and continuing to improve their style. Kia and Hyundai failed to that, and they are stuck with offering 10-year warranties that will almost definitely lead to long-term financial problems.

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  5. Jaguar and Land-Rover are dead-beat brands. Their days of glory are over. Whether they are Indian-, Chinese-, US- or British-owned the party is over. It began with the XK-120 and ended XJS a longtime ago. I do not know what motivates the powers that may be at TATA to buy Jaguar/Land-Rover. It is a losing proposition all the way!

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  6. I think Tata's objective will be to make this dead brand profitable and that is good for all.
    And American public will get used to it, I believe.

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  7. i think people are well aware bout the market , however i just want to share that if tata can an india brand Indica car in mnost of the countries abroad they can easily selll and leave an impressive mark on the US market.....so chill its gonna be an Indian Brand ....& i think theese words are true that "we know that we are not that much good inventors but we know how to overcome that invention"......

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  8. Indian car enthusiastJanuary 22, 2008 at 7:06 PM

    An friend of mine in Europe told me that if Tata buys Jaguar, the sales will fall due to the many wealthy people in the western world will not identify with the brand anyomre, and I said that would not be an issue as there are many wealthy people in India, and people of Indian origin in the western world, who will want to buy Jaguar only because it is owned by Indian company like Tata.

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  9. Why don't naysayers understand that there are over 40 million Indians living abroad. When they go back to India, they buy Titan watches, live in the TATA run 5 stars, know TATA Consultancy Service and the diversified portfolio of TATA. Don't you think that this large expat community would love to "now" buy the Slim Jaguars and the Tough Rovers. Wall Street should understand that there are more company buyers than American Companies only. A lot of the financial companies that close down at night in the US continue their operations in India. So saying that Indian and Chinese companies may not jive with the American thought is wrong, look at Lenovo, doooing goood.

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  10. if the american public are ready for an african american president, why would they not be ready for a luxury brand owned by an indian company?

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  11. Another view: Tata wants education: to learn how to make the best leather, car interior, chasis, etc. Then they will dump the junk Jag factories in England and start selling their own much improved cars through the dealer network they inherit. End result: better Tata cars, end of the Jag brand - or whatever is left of it.

    Get ready: The Indians and Chinese will walk over the English.... How ironic, as the Brits would have said.....

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  12. Despite general opinion that English auto brands can no longer compete with offerings from the Germans and Japs it does appear that Jaguar and Land Rover's new models and concept are anything but bland and old fashioned.

    If Tata can provide the financial resources and allow the creative designs to be put into production then I think these British brands will launch a major comeback.

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  13. If Tata puts the financing and if the new models do X then maybe a comeback... There are too many ifs... And why bother? The BEST strategy for Tata is to use the Jaguar dealer network to sell its own cars in the future... say a 3 Lakh Jag?

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  14. A brand is bigger than the person who owns it. As someone here said it'll soon carry on as if nothing major happened. And as Ratan Tata said: "They are British brands, and they should remain British. Who actually owns them should not be very important in the way they work" http://www.autocar.co.uk/News/NewsArticle/AllCars/231622/

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  15. Say what you want, but I know what Indian cars are and how Indian management is. Finally, they'll kill the brands all together. Even though they aren't doing well now, atleast they still hold some prestige. After Tata touches it, it will never be remembered for all it's glory. It's a shame.

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  16. its true.... snake charmers and elephant riders now ride ford jaguar, land rover

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  17. Folks, whatever happen with the Jaguar - Land Rover brand name, but believe me both are going to be PROFITABLE, it might not remain luxury brands..but still PROFITABLE

    Cheers...

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  18. Dont buy jaguars /land rovers from now own by a indian / chinese company..

    They are shaping better near future (TATA)

    they are getting in to successfull business market(TATA).

    Lets buy a bicycle and go to LA for this weekend.

    Anyone in the world thinking racist will just die with their pride.

    Think there is a better car arising back..

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  19. Unfortunately I state with confidence that the present UK Government’s Strategy and Thinking will eventually lead Britain to Industrial & Technological oblivion.
    The sale of Jaguar and Land Rover et al to TATA Industries of India (they already own CORUS-ex. British Steel and other British household names) is a further sign of things to come and which in the long-term will not be good for UK plc or indeed USA plc. In 1997 when labour came to power, twenty-six of the world’s most eminent scientists and engineers (including eight Nobel laureates) advised the British government to adopt a strategy of building the future UK economy on the foundations of new technological products that no other nation had in its possession. This world-leading technological strategy fell on deaf ears as service industries were thought of as the UK's ultimate saviour and where new leading-edge technology and manufacturing was only considered as a second division player. Now we see over 30% of the UK economy is totally dependent upon the financial sector alone and where we all know too well now how this strategy is so volatile and where banks can move to a great extent to anywhere in the world if they wish to do so. Indeed, as time goes on there is no doubt that London will lose out to other financial centres of the world and where in time, service industries will not support the nation as once thought. Today, China has the first ‘trillion’ dollar company, over twice as large as our largest western corporations. Tomorrow Asia and particularly China will have many more trillion-dollar entities but where they will not be the service industries that Britain is so dependent upon, but scientific/technological manufacturing concerns that will dominate the world through their sheer technological prowess. The British government and unions say that jobs are now secure, but for how many years I would ask. Therefore this folly has got to stop and we in the West have to change to the high-tech strategy that was put forward to the UK administration some 11-years ago and before we all become beholden to the might of the South-East Asia technological juggernaut that simple will not stop. This is another warning of several that has been given over the last 10-years to our western governments and where this once proud economic block now runs the very high risk of technological and industrial extinction if there is not a ‘u’ turn quickly. For overall in the West, we need an economic strategy based upon new technological industries and not unadventurous and conformist service industries that never really had the strength in depth to provide the West with a long-term stable and dynamic future. Time has now therefore come to change our ‘spots’ before our economies totally evaporates and predominantly into the hands of others. For the war of the 21st century will be economic and not military and where this will be a far more devastating war than conventional warfare, as it is relentless, unremitting and continues indefinitely. Therefore let us see if our politicians in the West take note this time around for eventually the penny or the dollar hopefully will drop with them sometime soon !

    Dr David Hill
    World Innovation Foundation Charity
    Bern, Switzerland

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  20. Hi All,

    Have a look at another article on this topic for another point of view. Giving the link here so as to avoid copying most of the content from there.
    http://ridingtheelephant.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2008/03/26/tata-buys-into-40-years-of-trouble/

    Mandar. India / UK

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  21. Keep going Tata.Very good and daring decision you have taken to buy Land Rover and Jaguar from Ford.My hearty wishes are with you...Show the world that you can turn sand into gold....

    Kepp going...All the Best...

    Regards:
    trkvarma@yahoo.com

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  22. I think, the American public who are rich enough have already bought jaguars.. now the poor americans left cannot buy. So better to go to contries where more rich people are there. In India, it is easy to sell a desi car that a foriegn brand. So tata will make huge profits. The new market is India and not America. So it does not matter if the American public are not ready to accept.

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  23. Who cares about western world wealthy people?
    We're a bunch of snobs anyway.

    we had already given up on a cheap crap FORD-JAGUAR and LR.
    The rest of the world (meaning non western) is a very profitable place with a growing middle class who would have only dreamt 5 years ago to own a jaguar or a Land Rover.
    Good for them.
    good also for India to stick it up emotionally to the UK.

    Ludo French guy

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  24. TATA is a well-established brand in India. Whereas ford is a brand in America that seems to be failing in many aspects. A TATA jaguar is better than a ford jaguar.

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  25. Tata is not a company to be underestimated. They are one of the worlds biggest companies. If they could expand to the western world they will probably exceed most companies in profits. They hold one of the largest steel reserves in the world. They have been know to be aggressive and innovative through out history. Air India was started by Tata and ran by Tata during its highflying days. Tata just recently made the worlds cheapest car and also Tata economy car (Indica) gives more milege for the gallon approximately 53 mpg. To meet US standards for Cars they are not bad. They just need to slightly tweak their cars to meet US standards. That is mainly for their smaller cars and that tweak is for steel guage and of cource airbags in all the cars. Tata is a company with pride. They will to do everything to exceed expectations especially in the Jaguar case.

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  26. READ THIS TO KNOW MORE ABOUT TATA & its Presence in the US

    Jan 31 (Reuters) - India's Tata Steel is set to become the world's fifth-biggest steelmaker after winning a bid battle for Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus Group by agreeing to pay 6.2 billion pounds.

    Following are some major overseas acquisitions by India's Tata group:

    Feb 2000 - Tata Tea Ltd announces it is acquiring British firm Tetley Ltd, which owns the second largest global tea brand, for $432 million (220 million pounds).

    Feb 2004 - Tata Motors Ltd, India's biggest truck maker, signs a deal to buy the commercial vehicle unit of South Korea's Daewoo Group for $102 million.

    May 2004 - Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India's largest software firm, acquires Phoenix Global Solutions, a unit of The Phoenix Companies Inc (PNX.N), to tap its expertise in the insurance sector.

    Aug 2004 - Tata Iron and Steel Co Ltd makes a huge step overseas with a $286 million purchase of most of Singapore's lone steel miller, NatSteel Ltd.

    Feb 2005 - The board of Tata Motors Ltd. approves the purchase of 21 percent of Spanish bus maker Hispano Carrocera S.A. in a deal worth 12 million euros ($16 million) with an option to acquire a 100 percent holding later.

    June 2005 - Tata Coffee Ltd. agrees to buy the U.S.-based Eight O'Clock Coffee Company for $220 million from private equity firm Gryphon Investors.

    July 2005 - India's telecom firm Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (VSNL), in which the Tata group holds more than 45 percent stake, says it would acquire Teleglobe International Holdings Ltd, a U.S. telecoms network services company for $239 million. VSNL completes the acquisition in February 2006.

    July 2005 - VSNL completes the $130 million purchase of Tyco International's global undersea fibre optic cable network unit.

    Oct 2005 - Tata Consultancy Services says it has acquired Sydney-based Financial Network Services (FNS) for $26 million.

    Oct 2005 - Tata Tea says it it has signed an agreement to acquire U.S. specialty tea brand Good Earth for an undisclosed sum.

    Dec 2005 - Tata Chemicals Ltd. says it has agreed to buy 63.5 percent stake in UK-based soda ash maker Brunner Mond from Wayland Investments Ltd. and Barclays Bank for $113 million.

    May 2006 - Tata Tea (GB), a subsidiary of Tata Tea Ltd, signs an agreement to acquire the assets of Jemca, the largest tea company in the Czech Republic from food processing company, Alima Znackova Potravina, for an undisclosed amount. Aug 2006 - Tata Tea announces its plans to buy 30 percent of Energy Brands Inc., maker of fast-growing brand Glaceau vitamin water, for $677 million.

    Oct 2006 - Tata Tea acquires a 33 percent stake in Joekels Tea Packers of South Africa for $60 million.

    Jan 2007 - Tata Steel wins a bid battle for Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus Group by agreeing to pay 6.2 billion pounds.

    Sources: Reuters; Tata Group (www.tata.com)

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  27. Why are people arguing about nationalities? From my point of view it's just 2 multinational companies doing a deal. The fact that one's head office is based in India and the other is based in USA doesn't seem relevant to me.

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  28. All falling brands, be it GM, Ford or Jaguar have one thing in common. They all threw innovation and embraced profit. They stopped hiring engineers and started hiring MBAs. Hope TATA would be different.

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  29. As of now with the release of the new Jaguar XJ, id have to say that TATA was the best thing that could happen to Jaguar in todays economy. They have brought back what was once a quintessentially british manufacturer and brought them to the modern age. I applaud TATA for their work.

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  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  31. An american calls a sales department to buy an American flag. It turns out that all their products are made and sold from India. The american starts complaining "how can an American flag can be made in India? This is bullshit, I am not going to pay for this" The sales lady states "Sir, we have the same flag which is made in America as well, it is just $20 extra...which one would you like?". Ofcourse, the American choose the Indian made American flag. My point is that Americans are very blind. They are used to thinking that stereotyping is part of being American. The matter of fact is that when it comes down to spending money, they will buy what is better, and cheaper for the buck, just like any smart buyer. You can say all you want, but in the end, if TATA's newly owned Jaguar outperforms BMW, Mercedes, and every other car in its class in every aspect including reliability, AMERICANS WILL BUY IT.

    Speaking of which, check out TATA's 2009 Jaguar XF. From the time of purchase, Jaguar's reliability charts have gone off the roof, and Jaguar is now one of the most reliable cars according JD Power and associates. Honestly, Jaguar XF is the sexiest luxury I have seen up to date, and the technology in this babe is AMAZING and VERY WELL thought out. The whole design is just BEAUTIFUL, and navigation on your odometer screen? Congrats TATA, you just shut everybody's mouth by making a car that is better than Audi, Mercedes, and BMW, for much cheaper price. The new X generation Jaguar is now back in the market.

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  33. In my opinion, Tata is the only hope for Jaguar. Why?
    As someone above noted - Ford-Jaguar makes crap cars, rainwater pours into trunks, the electronics is of Ford Fiesta quality, seating is like Skoda Octavia coated in leather, there is so little place inside it leaves you puzzled how to fit four people inside!!!

    The engine is Ford Scorpio from late 1990's...

    The Ford technology will rule the Jaguars to 2013 from then on Tata are on their own. Can't wait for it to happen.

    Tata already provides Formula 1 teams with consulting and support, they OWN the best of British steelmaking and material knowledge, they do aim to be the best in technical aspects, which the Ford Jaguars desperadely lacked.

    Did I already mention how disappointed I am in a certain Type-S Ford Jaguar? The overall quality is way below what you expect in a late 1990's Honda Civic, Even the amount of space you get for your feet seems to be bigger in the civic...

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  34. I think all the above comments saying that Jaguar is dead or whatnot seems unreal right now doesn’t it. JLR is rising and it will keep on rising because its been backed up by TATA. They are a huge company in India and one of the biggest in the world. So forget about the 1990-2007 models. Thinks of it as being reborn from the days when Jaguar used to up their with Aston and Porsche.

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