Tata Motors is all set to roll out the famed Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles to India soon. The cars are likely to be launched by mid-2009 in India as announced by the MDs of the two cars brands at the Shanghai Motors Show.
Mr. Phil Popham, Managing Director of Land Rover said, “Both companies would reach out to customers through common dealerships in the five major cities in India. Later, after studying the response to these vehicles, more cities will be covered through dealerships in the next phase. Expansion beyond Mumbai would happen in a phased manner.”
So far, Land Rover plans to offer its entire range of vehicles in India. Popham said the vehicle would be sold as CBUs (Completely Built Units) by importing it as per Indian regulations. Thus every vehicle would attract duties over 100 percent, which is higher than the cost available in UK.
Last year, Land Rover suffered drop in sales worldwide due to the impact of recession. Land Rover had sold 187,000 units in 2008 while it sold 226,000 units in 2007. In the second half of the year 2008, when recession hits the wealthy markets worldwide, sales went down drastically. The company expects to sell lesser volume this year than 2008.
Mr. Mike O’Driscoll, M.D. of Jaguar said that the market for luxury cars in India had grown significantly. Though not as big as western markets, it holds commendable prospects for growth. “It may initially, be a smaller market to start with, but we feel that it holds a huge potential. We are introducing cars in India for long term, even though we realize that it will take a few years to develop the brand in the country.” He further added that the high import duties in India were unavoidable and the two companies will have to deal with it.
Replying to a question on whether the two brands would have synergies with the parent company for retailing the cars, he revealed that no such arrangement was being considered right now. Mr. Popham said that JLR products are different from what Tata Motors sells and hence they would work for marketing at different platforms. The two UK companies will however seek advice on expansion plans in India from Tata Motors.