Monday, March 24, 2008

Ford Sells Jaguar and Land Rover

Tata, Jaguar! Tata, Land Rover!

Tata Motors is buying the Jaguar and Land Rover brands from cash-strapped Ford Motor Company.

Pictures are the Land Rover LRX concept, on the left, and the all-new 2009 Jaguar XF sedan on the right.

Oh, the shame and embarrassment that British citizens must be feeling! First, these two iconic British brands were bought by a company based in one former colony, now called United States of America. Ford, of course, is headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan.

Now, that former colony is selling them to a company based in another former British colony -- Tata is based Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, India.

But this is not about the history of the British Empire. It's about good, old-fashioned profits.

Ford has been bleeding money lately -- Ford has lost some $15 Billion (that's billion with a B) in the last two years, according to the New York Times. While Tata has enough spare change to be able to pay $2 Billion for Jaguar and Land Rover.

It's been a road filled with potholes lately for Ford, which invented the assembly line, with the legendary Ford Model T. And a superhighway for the upstart Tata, which is building a $2,500 small sedan -- but don't expect ABS, or even sideview mirrors for that price.

The official sale announcement is expected later this week, when Jag and Rover workers return from their Easter break. Surprise!

Now comes the guessing.

What will Tata do with the all-new Jaguar XF, the shining star of the brand's design and technology direction. And, what will Tata do about the Land Rover LRX Concept?

Perhaps, Tata will do for Jaguar and Land Rover what Germany's Volkswagen did when it bought the equally iconic Bentley brand -- VW poured zillions into Bentley design and manufacture, including a new factory in Crewe, England, and backing new models that have re-energized Bentley.

Just in case you are wondering about Rolls-Royce -- that's now owned by Germany's BMW, as is the Mini Cooper brand.

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