Steane Klose | Nov 23, 2007

Of the remaining three bidders for the Jaguar Land Rover conglomerate, Tata is emerging as the clear favourite not only from the workers union perspective but also for those who want to see both brands move on and prosper. Ford have tipped a bucket load of cash into the Jaguar Land Rover chasm but it hasn’t just been to cover running costs, there has also been a considerable amount invested in the product development process along with the required expertise and state of the art facilities to go with it.

It is believed that a sale to private equity firm One Equity Partners will result in an asset stripping exercise for both brands as well as a reduction in the UK based work-force, obviously not a ideal outcome for the workers or their Union.

Chrysler President Thomas Stallkamp has put the kybosh on the suitability of Mahindra and Mahindra as owners and custodians of the iconic English brands, having been publicly critical of the idea that a “low-cost” manufacturer like Mahindra owning Jaguar Land Rover would be in anyway beneficial to JLR.

Which leaves Tata, whose management are said to be very “Europe-savvy” and interested in learning and improving their product which they readily admit is not yet up to world class standards. They are also keen to establish a major European vehicle development centre with Tata’s European engineers (many recruited from the former MG Rover group) currently holed-up in temporarily digs on the campus of Warwick University – just a few kilometers away from JLR’s engineering and design centres at Gaydon and Whitley.

So, Tata would appear to be the best buyer for JLR but this is business as there is big money at stake, so as always, expect the highest bidder to win – just hope that Tata has pockets deep enough.

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