Tata Group, owner of Jaguar Land Rover, has approached carmakers, including Chinese Zhejiang Gel Holding Group Co. and BMW AG, as they seek partnerships for concerned British car business, people with knowledge say.
India's largest conglomerate has said it is open to finding partners for JLR to save money and share the burden of investing in electric vehicles. Talks were at an early stage and Tata could still reach out to other potential partners, people say, asking not to be identified because the information is private. It was not immediately clear how responsive Geelie and BMW were
"There are no talks with Tata or the FLR," Gellie said in a statement. BMW declined to comment, as did Tata.
Any link with a Chinese carmaker could potentially help JLR in that market, where its struggles led to the $ 3.9 billion written earlier this year. Deeper links between the British luxury brand and BMW will be based on existing co-operation on electric motor development and propulsion technology, although the former chief executive of the German carmaker in August ruled out possible investment in capital.
The ladder is becoming increasingly important in the automotive industry, as carmakers create resources to cope with electrification and autonomous driving. The challenge is especially daunting for smaller players such as JLR, which has committed itself to an ambitious program to offer electric variants for each of its new 2020 models. The British carmaker was in early movement with current manufacturers of the electric crossover I-Pace, introduced last year.
The global downturn in major markets has increased the pressure despite the many challenges of turning fierce rivals into associates, the pace of deals has increased.
Volkswagen AG, the world's largest car maker, this year agreed to partner with Ford Motor Co. in areas including electrification and driving cars. PSA Group – the French owner of Peugeot, Opel and Citroen – agreed last month to combine with Fiat Chrysler Cars HM to create the world's fourth-largest car maker by volume.
One potential obstacle for any partner with JLR is the financial struggles of the British carmaker. Tata has begun addressing some of these problems, providing the brand with a $ 910 million capital infusion to help bolster its balance sheet.
In China, the JLR has struggled with quality and dealer issues. The company reported last month that sales had stabilized, helping parent Tata Motors Ltd. report a lower loss than projected. The UK unit is also nearing the end of its £ 2.5bn ($ 3.2bn) savings, which includes thousands of job cuts around the world.
The Tata Group bought the 2008 Jaguar XE sedan manufacturer and Land Rover Discovery sports utility vehicle in 2008 for $ 2.3 billion. While the conglomerate is open to finding partners for the JLR, it does not plan to sell the unit, N. said. Chandrasekaran, president of holding group Tata Sons Ltd., in an interview last month.
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