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Tata Unveils $20,000 Battery Car

An “intimate understanding” of frugal engineering.

by on Jan.12, 2012

Tata used "frugal engineering" to hold the estimated price of the eMo battery car concept to $20,000.

Electric vehicles don’t have to cost an arm and a leg, insists Indian automaker Tata Motors.

Its research arm, Tata Technologies, has unveiled a prototype for a $20,000 electric car that can carry four passengers without adding to the pollution in crowded cities around the world.

“The eMo project symbolizes the coming of age of Indian automotive engineering,” said Warren Harris, Tata Technologies President and Global COO. “It is a tangible example of the capability of Tata Technologies to engineer a full vehicle – a first for any India-based engineering services company,” added Harris during a press conference at the North American International Auto Show.

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Harris added, “Because we are India-based, Tata Technologies is intimately familiar with developing markets. Additionally, our experience and presence in Europe and North America means we also have an understanding of developed markets. It’s a combination that provides a competitive advantage to our clients,” added Harris, who noted the company also does extensive work for clients such as Ford Motor Co and Chrysler Group in the U.S.

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Jaguar Neiman Marcus Edition Sells Out

Well, cross this one off your holiday shopping list.

by on Oct.21, 2009

tk

A badly needed sales promotion works out.

Jaguar says it took four hours and four minutes for it to sell all 50 of its special edition 2010 XJL Supercharged Neiman Marcus cars that were offered by the Texas retailer’s Christmas Book. The 2010 Jaguar XJL vehicles retailed at $105,000.

Jaguar will place potential buyers beyond 50 on a waiting list in the event a reservation does not result in a final sale.

Moreover, if marketing is doing its job, surely they can come up with some other enticement or incentive to coax a Texas- sized contribution to owner Tata’s coffers. Through September year-to-date, Jaguar sales totaled 8,674 units, down 28% from the year earlier period, which pretty much makes every Jag exclusive in the automotive universe.

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Jaguar Land Rover to Close a West Midlands Plant

Labor union attacks management as incompetent.

by on Sep.24, 2009

Old style British labor woes confront new Indian owner.

Traditional British labor strife confronts new Indian owner Tata over cost cutting.

The labor union representing Jaguar Land Rover workers publicly attacked its management today over plans to close one of two plants in the West Midlands, even though the company claims the planned consolidation by the middle of next decade will not result in the loss of jobs.

The Indian-owned luxury vehicle maker is also seeking to restructure or eliminate pensions, create a multi-tiered wage structure that could cut wages by as much as 20%, and expand low-cost country sourcing.

New vehicle sales of Jaguar and Land Rover are down globally by 30%. This has resulted in manufacturing capacity utilization of less than 60% at the struggling company, which was losing money for decades when Ford Motor owned it, well before the current economic crisis.

Tata, the Mumbai-based owner said it ran up consolidated net losses for the year to March of 25 billion rupees (£315 m) compared to net profits of 21.68 billion rupees a year ago.

Unite, the labor union representing workers, said, “Earlier this year, this company and our union agreed a framework agreement intended to support JLR through this tough economic period. Our members said then that JLR could not be trusted to uphold that agreement. Today this has proven to be true.”

The Unite national secretary for the automotive sector, Dave Osborne, went on to say, “by far the biggest liability is the company’s leadership team.”

“Well, Unite’s members will not be paying for management’s incompetence and we will not stand by while those responsible continue to wreck havoc on this business,” Osborne concluded. It is unknown if he is related the John Osborne, one of a group of “angry young men” who wrote Look Back in Anger for the London stage.

No Strikes Here!

No Strikes Here!

It appears that the bloody trade disputes that post-war  British car companies excelled at is about to reappear as one of the main topics in Britain’s “red top” tabloids.

The latest row was triggered by huge, unsustainable losses at both Jaguar and Land Rover as the global Great Recession drags on, and Tata’s ongoing need to cut costs.

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First Look: Land Rover Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and LR4

Land Rover makes engine and trim changes for 2010.

by on Apr.13, 2009

A badly need freshening inside and out for LR4 appears, but still hidden is a, more efficient, smaller SUV.

A freshening inside and out for LR4 appears, but still hidden is a more efficient, smaller SUV.

The 2010 LR4 made its first appearance at the New York auto show on April 8. It replaces the LR3, formerly known as the Discovery as the smallest sport utility in the line. The LR4 is essentially an LR3 with a thorough facelift inside and out. 

Changes to the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport are less noticeable, including smoother, simpler exterior styling and some additional high-tech features such as an updated version of Land Rover’s adjustable Terrain Response system and a “surround-view” camera display. 

All those changes would be okay under normal circumstances, but these are hardly normal circumstances. Land Rover just changed ownership for the third time in 15 years; it’s an all-truck brand in a small-car world; and Land Rover quality is still near the bottom in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. 

India’s Tata Motors bought Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford Motor Company last June for just $2.3 billion. Ford also kicked in about $600 million for pension plans. That price was markedly less than the $3 billion Ford paid for Land Rover. 

Click Here to Subscribe to TDBJaguar was an independent, publicly traded company when Ford bought it in 1990 for $2.38 billion, just as Lexus was gaining momentum and proving Ford’s assumption wrong that you needed heritage to expand a luxury band. Lexus quickly went on to become the best selling luxury brand in the U.S. Jaguar, in spite of billions of dollars of additional investment and grandiose predictions of huge sales gains, languished. Ford then bought Land Rover from Germany’s BMW AG in 2000 hoping that it could cash in on growing truck demand. That assumption too proved dubious. All told, Ford’s investment in both failed brands could total more than $20 billion.  (more…)

Q&A: Jaguar’s Mike O’Driscoll

New owners giving the cat its claws back.

by on Mar.17, 2009

A frenetic 18 months at Jaguar for Managing Director Mike O'Driscoll

A frenetic 18 months and a new owner at Jaguar for Managing Director Mike O'Driscoll

It’s been a turbulent year for Jaguar, the legendary British automaker.  Like all its rivals, up-market or mainstream, the automaker is struggling in the wake of the industry’s worst downturn in decades.  Complicating matters is the fact that Jaguar has new owners.  Last June, it was sold off by its struggling parent, Ford Motor Co., along with Ford’s other British marque, Land Rover.

The new parent is Tata Motors, one of the emerging world’s most ambitious brands.  Manning the helm for Jaguar is Mike O’Driscoll, a long-time employee who was named Managing Director just as talk of the sale got underway, 18 months ago.  TheDetroitBureau.com caught up with O’Driscoll – MOD, to close friends and associates — and turned the conversation to everything from product to the challenges of working for an Indian auto company.

TheDetroitBureau: How has the hand-off been completed?  Is Ford completely out of the picture?

MOD: It’s been a great last 18 months for Jaguar and Land Rover.  The deal’s concluded and we’re running our own business.  We have various agreements, contracts, with Ford Motor Co. for the supply of technologies and certain processes, but they’re fairly limited in scope.  They’re not involved in running the business and haven’t been since before he June 2008 acquisition.  (more…)