It’s official. Ford is selling Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata Motors Limited, the largest automobile company of India. The price: $2.3 Billion.
Tata has been the lead bidder for the brands since January (2008), but many were astounded that Ford is selling its premium line of cars to an Indian company known mainly for its mostly small, inexpensive cars.
Ford has been struggling, particularly with Jaguar, where the company has invested $10 Billion trying to revive the brand after having spent $2.5 Billion in a deal that closed in 1990. Land Rover meanwhile, cost Ford, $2.8 billion in March 2000, when the company bought the brand from BMW.
In 2007, Ford sold the Aston Martin brand to a UK-led investment consortium for $955.2 Million.
As far as Tata Motors is concerned, there won’t be a lot of changes. As stated in a press release jointly issued by Tata and Ford, “Ford will continue to supply Jaguar Land Rover for differing periods with powertrains, stampings and other vehicle components, in addition to a variety of technologies, such as environmental and platform technologies, such as environmental and platform technologies.” As for the nearly 16,000 employees, the press document states further, “The parties do not anticipate any significant changes to Jaguar Land Rover employees’ terms of employment on completion.”
Additionally, Ford Motor Credit Company will finance Jaguar Land Rover dealers and customers during its transition of up to 12 months.
Tata Group has been acquiring several companies overseas, purchasing everything from coffee and tea companies to manufacturers of steel. But Tata is known for maintaining the character of the companies that it buys.
According to Ratan N. Tata, chairman of Tata Sons and Tata Motors, “We have enormous respedt for the two brands and will endeavor to preserve and build on their heritage and competitiveness, keeping their identities intact.”
The sale of Jaguar and Land Rover is part of CEO Alan Mulally’s strategy to turn the company around by putting the focus on its core brands: Ford, Mercury and Lincoln. According to Mulally, “Jaguar and Land Rover are terrific brands. We are confident that they are leaving our fold with the products, plan and team to continue to thrive under Tata’s stewardship. Now, it is time for Ford to concentrate on integrating the Ford brand globally, as we implement our plan to create a strong Ford Motor Company that delivers profitable growth for all.”
Under the new deal, Ford is obligated to pay $600 Million into the Jaguar Land Rover pension fund on closing, which means Ford will net only about $1.7 Billion.