Tuesday, April 28, 2009

JLR to enter India 'in a few months'

S Kalyana Ramanathan / London April 29

Two of Britain’s iconic cars, Jaguar and Land Rover, are expected to make their official entry into India in 2009.

The India foray of the two brands, which debuted in 1922 and 1948, respectively, has been hastened by their new Indian owner, Tata Motors, which took over in 2008 from Ford Motor Company of the US.

A JLR spokesperson confirmed the imminent entry of the models in India and said, “We’re still finalising plans, but the likelihood is within a few months. I can’t be more precise simply because the exact timing will be dependent on how the planning goes.” The spokesperson said Tata Motors would be the distributor of these brands in India.

India is the only country among the Bric nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) that is yet to see the entry of these two brands.

Since both are expected to be sold in India as fully built imports from the UK, their price will suffer a 110 per cent mark-up due to Customs duty. Two other German luxury brands, Daimler and BMW, against whom JLR will compete in India, have the advantage of having their assembly plants in India.

In the UK, the all-terrain (4x4) Land Rover sells in the range of £23,000-63,000 (Rs 17-46 lakh) while sports luxury Jaguar sells at £21,000-82,000 (Rs 15-60 lakh).

“Because our volume will initially be fairly low, it will be a case of seeing how things develop. Who knows what could happen in the future if there is a strong demand? For the foreseeable future, though, we will be concentrating on establishing the brands properly in India,” said the JLR spokesperson.

Singapore-based Mohit Arora, senior director at JD Power Asia Pacific who oversees the India operations, said, “The market will be very limited for JLR in India, but it must be seen more as Tata Motors displaying its flagship brands. Bringing the brands to India is one, but they must also be looking at making some profit out of it and be able to service once they start selling it.”

He added that at price points after paying Customs duty, the addressable market for both Jaguar and Land Rover is less than 1 per cent of the 1.5 million car market in India.

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