India next target market for Jaguar Land Rover

July 24th, 2008 - 11:00 am ICT by IANS  

London, July 24 (IANS) Jaguar Land Rover, now a Tata acquisition, is looking to expand to India, according to its chief executive David Smith. The eastern expansion of the company is aimed at insulating the company’s brands against the downturn in sales in traditional markets like the US, Britain and mainland Europe.

The brands sell decent numbers in Russia and China already and India is to join the group. There is only one distribution outlet there at present.

Smith warns that the road ahead is not smooth, given the lack of demand for luxury cars in the western economies and the company is likely to cut production levels at all three of its assembly plants to prevent a pile-up.

The company has not sold Jaguars and Land Rovers for some years in India now and this is going to change now, Smith was quoted as saying by the Birmingham Post.

The father of Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata, the current owner of the company, reportedly owned one of the first XK120s to roll out some 60 years ago.

“I think it will be a while before the Indian market is as large as China or Russia for premium vehicles, but there is opportunity to sell more than we are at the moment,” Smith said.

“We are looking at establishing some new dealer points in the key cities and getting the service and after-sales in place to make sure we can properly service customers. Then I think we can start accelerating sales,” he added.

Since it was sold by Ford to the Tatas, the company is run by a three-man board consisting of Smith, Ratan Tata and Ravi Kant, managing director of Tata Motors.

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