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Indego / IndeGo Forum / Tata, Fiat and Premium Brands

Tata, Fiat and Premium Brands

 

Friday, 18 January 2008 00:00

Finally Ford have confirmed what the rumour mill has been saying for some weeks now, that Tata is the preferred bidder for Jaguar and Land Rover. Various observers have raised objections about the qualifications of Tata to be a good home for these British premium brands. These comments are ill-informed and arguably rooted in prejudiced stereotypes, rather than cultural and industrial reality. As someone who has worked and travelled in India fairly extensively, I can only say that Tata Group serves up luxury, for example in their Taj Hotels, as well as any other premium provider. The key is recognising the target customer, and I am certain that Tata recognise the difference between the customer for a Jaguar XK and that for a Tata Indica car or Novus truck. The Indians in general can also do “traditional British” better than the Brits themselves, so little risk there either.

 


More interestingly, the industrial logic seems clearer to me than other observers. It is already public knowledge that Tata has a close and developing relationship with Fiat Group. Ratan Tata sits on the Fiat Board, and the groups have joint initiatives in trucks, tractors and cars in India. Fiat confirmed publicly last September that they were prepared to offer technical support to Tata if they acquired Jaguar Land Rover. Surely this all points towards further evolution of the Fiat-Tata relationship? A new “Premier Automotive Group” combining Alfa Romeo, Maserati, perhaps Ferrari and a now potentially viable Lancia, with Jaguar and Land Rover. Complementary brands, real scale economies in premium product and distribution and a precursor perhaps to the next industry mega-merger – that of Fiat and Tata?

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