March 28, 2008 | The Hindu Business Line

The brands should remain British: Tata

The synergies we see are the fundamental ones of having in our midst two brands that we greatly respect. – Mr Ratan Tata

Chennai, March 26: In the midst of protracted negotiations with Ford and even as its smallest product was capturing all the eye-balls at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, Mr Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Motors, was exuding confidence about the Jaguar-Land Rover deal coming through.

Excerpts from his responses to questions posed on the deal (then, still under negotiation) at the sidelines of the Geneva show.

On the rationale behind the JLR acquisition.

What attracted us was the fact that these are two iconic brands, very global in nature and highly respected for their products. We believe it is the duty of whoever owns them to nurture the image, to retain their touch and feel, and not to tinker with them.

They are British brands, and they should remain British. Who actually owns them should not be very important in the way they work.

Our motivation is not based on outsourcing and it is not based on taking technology from these companies. The synergies we see are the fundamental ones of having in our midst two brands that we greatly respect. The world should look at brands like these for what they are. Who owns them is almost immaterial. Our challenge at Tata, if our bid is successful, would be to nurture them and make them thrive.

On whether Tata Motors is looking for other acquisitions.

I really don’t think we would be on the prowl to acquire other car companies. If you say that contradicts what we’re doing now, I don’t believe it does. We were not aggressively looking to buy Jaguar and Land Rover. People brought us together, and we were happy to be considered as bidders. We will soon see what happens.

On JLR’s future models programme.

I have seen proposals for new models that look very exciting and impressive. We would not be arrogant enough to think we could arrive at this stage and bring something better.

On a shared management philosophy.

We satisfy ourselves, early on, that the people in the company share our values and ethics, and that we can have good human contact with the management, because we would want the management to continue to be there.

That is how we have worked with Daewoo, with Corus, with Tetley Tea and other companies we have acquired. We aim to put our imprint on the company through a negotiation board, but the existing managers continue to run the company.