Recent talks between Ratan Tata, Owner of Tata Motors, and JLR execs point to an eye for design, an ear for buyers’ wants and a strong grip on British legacy.
“I look forward to the day that I get to spend with Ratan Tata. At times, it is just half a day, still…” says legendary Jaguar designer Ian Callum, “Tata has an eye for design and he understands the spirit of Jaguar – the history, the lineage... everything.”
That’s something, coming from a design guy about his new boss. Why such confidence? Witness: the LRX.
Gerry McGovern, Callum’s counterpart at Land Rover (and fellow Irishman) concurs. “I see him once every six months, and Tata never dictates terms and he has very considered views on design. He does not shoot from the hip; rather, he is deeply involved in the development of the next Land Rover Models.”
Again, the LRX. “With this car, Land Rover will hopefully set a new course for SUVs.”
Certainly there are challenges. “Designers in the 1960’s had an easier life,” says McGovern. “Today we have to contend with stricter legislations, rules and regulations… this is the new challenge and it’s more important for countries like India and China.”
The Management team agrees. Mike O’Driscoll, managing director at Jaguar, cautions: “There are similarities among the affluent around the world. And these buyers understand luxury. They are well-travelled and desire certain things in life and we should be careful not to change their expectations in a drastic manner, developing market or not.”
His counterpart at Land Rover, Phil Popham, is also optimistic. “Land Rover models have an advantage in India – our cars can tackle most terrain without a problem. We have noticed the success of SUVs from Audi, Porsche and BMW in India and we are encouraged by this.”
It would appear from all sides that the new boss in the far-off land is not ego-driven, but rather driven by market forces and the confidence he has both in his products and his people. And that points to an exciting future for all of us.
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