The rumor mill has been grinding since last June when Ford put out the word that it was selling off its Land Rover and Jaguar marques, saying that India’s Tata Motors was the likely bid-winner. The American company needed desperately to turn its overextension around and start showing a profit, and the Indian company was salivating over the brands’ well-established distribution network to serve one of the world’s fastest-growing markets.
"Ford is committed to focused negotiations at a more detailed level with Tata Motors concerning the potential sale of the combined Jaguar Land Rover business, " said Lewis Booth, executive vice president with responsibility for Premier Automotive Group and Ford of Europe, in a statement.
"There is still a considerable amount of work to do, and while no final decision has been made, we will proceed with further substantive discussions with Tata Motors over the forthcoming weeks with a view to securing an agreement that is in the best interests of all parties concerned," he added.
That said, the bloggers feeding the rumor mill are still switching lanes on exactly how this sale will come to pass. Will Tata appoint Geoff Polities, an Australian industry veteran and the top Ford exec in Europe, as the CEO of the Land Rover/Jaguar group? Will Ford maintain a stake in the business, as they did with the Gulf-based consortium that bought Aston Martin? Will Ford continue to supply engines and other components for the vehicles? Will current operations remain intact? And what will become of the 15,000 British jobs that go with it all?
Evidently, it’s that last question that is pushing the final decision into February, at earliest. Until then, the only thing that’s certain is that the rumor mill will continue to grind…
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