US media hails Tata’s hello to Jaguar, Land Rover

March 27th, 2008 - 2:54 pm ICT by admin  

New York, March 27 (IANS) “Ford says ‘Tata’ to Jaguar, Land Rover”. After running a news agency story on the mega auto deal with this tailor-made headline, many US publications looked in admiration at Tata’s hello to the luxury British brands it acquired. Some of the papers saw the $2.3 billion purchase as a stunning triumph for Tata and showed their admiration for the Tata’s winsome acquisition style.

In stories put out on their websites within hours of the announcement Wednesday, they said the deal was good for everyone - Tata, Ford and the two brands. Some added a caveat that the Indian company was inviting trouble.

USA Today saw the deal as “one of the most significant shifts of clout in the auto industry” where Ford Motor was handing the keys to its high-class brands to an Indian company “perhaps best known for its heavy trucks”.

The paper said the deal came at a time when the auto industry, particularly in North America and Europe, was focused on China as the next big world player. It quoted David Cole, chairman of the Centre for Automotive Research, on the Tata-Ford deal: “This represents a first, with an Indian company really stepping outside as an investor with a significant couple of brands.”

The Wall Street Journal said: “For Tata, the deal extends the company’s global reach in the auto sector and shores up its competitive standing against Indian rival Mahindra & Mahindra, which already had plans to enter the US market in 2009.” Mahindra had also vied for Jaguar and Land Rover.

The Journal’s online auto editor, David Patton, considered the deal good for Ford, who could not make money from the brands, and for Jaguar and Land Rover too, because Tata would prove a good steward.

In a video interview on the Journal’s website, Laurie Harbour, of advisory firm Stout Risius Ross, said Tata, in its quest for quick growth and to compete globally, is buying strong brands known for quality and reliability with the big capital it has. This is something the Chinese companies are unable to do, giving the Indians an edge, she commented.

Fortune said the Tata group chairman Ratan Tata’s hands-off ownership style could win him crucial support in his bid to fold the acquired brands into Tata.

“Well, it seems to come naturally to Tata and his people. It was evident in the Corus deal, and it seems to be at work again in their Jaguar and Land Rover plans,” the magazine said.

But the magazine also went into the chequered past of Jaguar and Land Rover, and opined that Tata’s optimism about growth of the acquired companies could be hit by worsening economic problems in the US and elsewhere.

The magazine, which had recently named 70-year-old Ratan Tata among the 25 most powerful people in business globally, also thought that he and his group had not been grooming a worthy successor to him.

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