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Finalised JV partner for JLR assembly in China: Tata Motors

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 23:52

Mumbai: Auto major Tata Motors Tuesday said it has finalised a joint venture partner for the proposed assembly plant for JLR in China and will make a formal announcement as soon at it gets approvals from Chinese authorities.

"We are awaiting the approvals from the Chinese government for our joint venture there and we are expecting it anytime from now," Tata Motors Chief Financial Officer C Ramakrishnan told reporters here.

He, however, declined to comment on a possible timeframe for the announcement, saying: "I cannot predict as to how soon it will happen...We are expecting it anytime from now."

When asked whether this means the company has already identified its joint venture partner, he answered in the affirmative.

China is one of the largest markets for the company's British marquees Jaguar and Land Rover. Earlier, JLR had said it planned to produce more than 50,000 vehicles a year from a new plant in China employing up to 5,000 people.

Tata Motors India Managing Director Prakash M Telang said having an assembly plant in China is the best way forward for JLR going by the massive demand for its models.

“A plant in China will help us meet the huge potential in that country," Telang said.

Commenting on the investment plans for JLR, Ramakrishnan said it will be doubled to 1.5 billion pounds from this fiscal onwards.

"We will continue to invest in the JLR brands, both in terms of product development as well as in terms of technologies. As part of our focus on this business, we will be doubling our annual capital investment in this to 1.5 billion pounds," he said.

Since Tata Motors acquired Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) in 2008, the company has been investing 700-800 million pounds annually on the two brands, he added. On the domestic front, Telang said Tata Motors is intensifying efforts to rev up Nano sales.

As many as 230 more exclusive Nano showrooms will be opened in the next 12 months, while already 120 such showrooms are already functioning currently, he added.

Explaining the rationale for the exclusive Nano outlets, he said: "Since the novelty factor for the car is over, we on hindsight realise that perhaps selling Nano and Aria together would have intimidated a genuine Nano buyer."

In January, Nano sales stood at 7,723 units compared to 6,703 units in the year-ago period, up 15.22 percent.

At the time of the Auto Expo, Tata group chairman Ratan Tata had admitted that Tata Motors missed an early opportunity to exploit the potential of Nano.

Asked on reports of launching the Nano in the Bangladeshi market soon, Telang said: "We have not finalized anything concretely on the Bangladesh entry."

He also said Sri Lanka and Nepal were "natural" export markets for Nano.

On his outlook for the current quarter and for the next fiscal, Telang said: "We see tough competition continuing in the heavy commercial vehicles and the passenger car segments but for the mid-to long-term I am very optimistic."


First Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 23:52
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