Tata Motors to double JLR investments


Tata Motors plans to double investments in its Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) brands to 1.5 billion pounds a year to help launch new products and variants, its Chief Financial Officer CR Ramakrishnan said on Tuesday.

Tata Motors has selected its joint venture partner for manufacturing Jaguar Land Rover cars in China and is awaiting Chinese government approvals to start making the luxury cars there, Ramakrishnan said.



An announcement on the company's China joint venture will be made "very soon," he said, without giving details.

The company posted a 40.5% rise in profits in the quarter to end-December, as strong sales of its JLR models offset sluggish performance from its domestic arm, hit by high costs and interest rates in India.

JLR contributed 95% of the company's profit in the quarter to end-December, helped by the popularity of its new compact Evoque SUV in emerging markets such as Russia and China.

The luxury unit, which Tata bought from Ford Motor Co for $2.3 billion in 2008, boasted a profit margin of 20% in the quarter, three times that seen by the domestic business.

Ramakrishnan said Tata will start doubling JLR investments from this fiscal year ending on March 31, which would also be used for upgrading technology to meet emission targets.

Tata Motors' distribution joint venture with Italian automaker Fiat in India is not producing expected financial results, but the Indian company has no plans to end the tie-up, he said.

Tata, part of the global tea-to-technology Tata Group, has a product range that spans the British Jaguar Land Rover luxury brands to the ultra-cheap Nano car.

Tata Motors plans to launch 230 showrooms for the Nano in the next 12 months to add to the network of 120, said PM Telang, managing director of the company's India operations, adding Sri Lanka and Nepal were "natural" export markets for the car.

The Nano was billed on its launch in 2008 as the world's cheapest family vehicle and a crowning achievement for Tata Motors, but lacklustre sales, a rising price and quality concerns has seen the car fail to live up to its initial hype.