New Delhi: Tata Motors says it hopes to clinch a deal to buy the luxury Jaguar and Land Rover car brands from ailing US carmaker Ford “in the forthcoming weeks.”
Ford named Tata Motors, which last month unveiled the world’s cheapest car, as the preferred buyer for the Jaguar and Land Rover marques early last month.
“Tata Motors is pleased by the progress in the discussions with Ford to date and hopes both the parties can reach an agreement in the forthcoming weeks,” company spokesman Debasis Ray said in a statement late Monday.
The company, part of India’s sprawling tea-to-steel conglomerate Tata Group, denied British media reports that it had held talks about Italian automaker Fiat’s participation in the deal.
The reports had suggested that Fiat, Tata Motor’s Indian partner, hoped to gain access to Jaguar and Land Rover’s technology for its own products.
The Indian firm said there had been “no discussions with Fiat on deployment of technologies developed by Jaguar and Land Rover.”
Tata Motors has a production and marketing tie-up with Fiat to sell the latter’s products in India. The two firms agreed a joint venture in October last year covering passenger cars, engines and transmissions.
Earlier reports have said offers for the two brands ranged from $1.5 to 2.0 billion in total. There has been no comment from Ford or Tata about the price.
Ford bought Jaguar for $2.5 billion in 1989 and Land Rover for $2.7 billion in 2000.
Tata Motors could make a huge technological leap, gaining expertise for its own sports utility vehicles, and save years of development by acquiring Jaguar and Land Rover, analysts say.
The purchase would also be the latest in an aggressive foreign expansion drive by the group, which last week said it was buying US-based soda-ash producer General Chemical Industrial Products for over one billion dollars.
Tata unveiled the Nano, a 2,500-dollar-car billed as the world’s cheapest, to high acclaim and environmental concerns last month. Experts say the car could could revolutionise how millions travel but others worry about pollution.