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Tata to announce Jaguar purchase
« on: March 25, 2008, 06:17:11 PM »
Car giant Ford is to sell its luxury UK-based car marques Jaguar and Land Rover to Indian company Tata.

Tata, India's biggest vehicle maker, is likely to pay about $2bn (1bn) in the deal, although analysts will be keen to see the exact price and terms.

The lengthy sale process started last June when Ford announced its intention to sell the companies as a package.

Jaguar and Land Rover employ about 16,000 staff at plants across the West Midlands and Merseyside.

Tata accounts for more than half of the sub-continent's truck market and has about 20% of India's car market.

Returning Jaguar to profitability will neither be easy or without risks
Robert Peston BBC business editor

The car workers union, Unite, has said that Tata was the preferred bidder for the company.

BBC business editor, Robert Peston said: "Tata will commit to following an existing five year plan to invest in and develop the car manufacturing businesses. "

"Jaguar and Land Rover require hundreds of millions in investment over the next few years.

"And returning Jaguar to profitability will neither be easy or without risks," he added.

Robert also said that, to reassure the workforce, Ford will inject 300m into Jaguar and Land Rover pension funds.

Jaguar losses

In January, Tata launched the world's cheapest car, the Nano, priced at $2,500 (1,250).

By contrast, the starting price for Jaguar's latest sports car, the XF is more than 32,000 ($64,000).

Ford has never given any details about Jaguar's financial performance.

But it is thought that Ford has invested about $10bn in Jaguar since buying it in 1989, for $2.5bn.

Despite that investment, analysts say that Jaguar, which has plants at Castle Bromwich, West Midlands and Halewood, Merseyside, has never made a profit for Ford.

However, Land Rover, which is based in Solihull, West Midlands, has been profitable under Ford's ownership.