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Tata Motors to soon finalise Jaguar, Rover retail plans

Posted on: February 2, 2009

Auto company Tata Motors is understood to have begun finalising its India plans for retailing top brands from the Jaguar-Land Rover
portfolio, its recent acquisition in the UK. Top company officials said that plans are underway to launch company-owned showrooms, and a large number of Jaguar cars have been imported for initial use in its Taj Mahal Hotels across the country.


Among the Jaguar portfolio, Tatas will bring the Jaguar XF, which competes with the Mercedes E-class and BMW 5 series
. The Jaguar XF, if brought in as a CBU (completely built unit) will sport a price-tag of around Rs 40 lakh (which includes 114% customs duty) and will have two engine options — 2.7 litre diesel and 3.6 litre petrol. Among the Land Rover models, the Freelander will be an obvious choice. The Freelander retails start from £20,935.

When contacted, a Tata Motor official said, the company has not taken any decision for the India launch of JLR brands. The company will be unable to price them competitively as these models are imported and CBUs attract a high duty structure. Incidentally, even as world-wide sales of luxury cars and SUVs are falling, the Jaguar XF is getting a positive response with sales up from 10,000 units in the October-December quarter to 15,000 units.

Initially, these models will be brought in as CBUs and plans are also on to bring the models as CKDs (completely knocked down) in a few months. While CBUs attract a customs duty of 114%, CKDs attract a duty of around 15%.

One of the first showrooms is expected to be set up in South Mumbai. The group is exploring similar options in other major cities across the world and is expected to start retailing the JLR brands in India by April this year, said an official familiar with the development. “We want to create a world-class experience with these dealerships, he said. Officials have also not ruled out the possibility of the existing Tata Motors’ dealerships stocking JLR models.

The company may shortlist one of its existing dealers in every city, who would have to set up separate showrooms for the brands. This year, Tata Motors will also be launching the Nano, Xenon and the new Indigo, and Fiat brands like the Grande Punto Land Rover currently is already being distributed through an independent Mumbai-based dealer Navnit Motors.

The dealer is currently retailing Discovery and Range Rover Sport, and is looking to bring in the Freelander at a price tag of around Rs 35-40 lakh. “We will continue to retail the Land Rover models and we yet have to discuss with the Tatas,” Navnit Motors MD Sharad Kachalia said. Currently, the UK auto company is awaiting the British government’s £2.3-billion bailout package.


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