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Geneva: On the eve of the Geneva Motor Show, Tata Motors Ltd demonstrated its global ambitions when it introduced its two new expatriate appointees—Carl-Peter Forster, its first group foreign chief executive officer, and Ralf Speth, the new chief executive of British luxury brand Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).

On Tuesday morning, the firm displayed the Tata Nano EV, the electric version of the world’s cheapest car. It already has the Tata Indica Vista EV, a green version of its small car, in its electric vehicle portfolio.

On display: The main hall during the press day at the 80th Geneva International Motor Show on Tuesday. AP

Kant was in Geneva fresh from a visit to Saudi Arabia—a new market for the company. At a formal dinner, he introduced his two new colleagues to the media and said hiring them was part of an effort to “internationalize" the company. “We do hope that this strengthening of management will help take forward our international dreams," he said.

Forster, 55, an industry veteran who has worked with General Motors Co.’s Adam Opel Gmbh unit and has served as manufacturing head at BMW AG, is just a fortnight into his new job. He maintained his stance that the media should allow him 100 days before he could handle topics such as strategies, but relented to give a glimpse of his intentions.

When asked about the integration efforts at JLR, which Tata Motors acquired in 2008, he quipped that integration did not mean components sharing alone but capabilities sharing as well.

On Tuesday, Tata Motors shares surged 19% to end at Rs797.10 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, upstaging the Sensex’s 2% rise. JLR, reporting its first quarterly numbers since the acquisition, showed a profit of Rs417 crore in the three months to end-December against a loss of Rs1,180 crore a year ago. Tata Motors, too, said on Friday it made a profit of Rs650 crore in the December quarter, against a loss earlier.

Kant hoped the flip in fortunes would “god willing, mean that JLR will not consume resources from the parent but look after itself from now on."

Tata Motors, by virtue of its JLR acquisition, has a huge debt of Rs23,100 crore to service. But demand has picked up across markets and has coincided with Jaguar’s new launches, which have been received well in countries such as China, Russia and the UK.

Forster said Jaguar sales are better dispersed than other European car makers. “Almost 15-20% of Jaguar’s sales now come from emerging nations such as China and Russia."

Forster added that earnings on each car was important to be successful. “The biggest mistake is the chase for volumes over everything else... Nobody can compete only on costs."

In India, the industry is seeing a restructuring as costs are being squeezed and car makers are using the low-cost base to make small cars for exports.

Satish John is visiting the Geneva Motor Show as a guest of Tata Motors.

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