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Jags' sale ahead of schedule

Jaguar Land Rover will be a Tata company in June.

The $2.5 billion sale of the two British icons to the Indian manufacturer was to be finalised at the start of the new financial year, but Jaguar Land Rover Australia managing director David Blackhall said it would now be June 1.

“I was in the UK two weeks ago and everything is on track for the sale,” he said this week at the Melbourne launch of the new XF Jaguar.

Blackhall said Tata would set broad parameters for business performance.

He pointed out that although Jaguar sales in Australia last year dropped 18.9 per cent from 1011 in 2006 to 820, profit was up 15 per cent. Land Rover increased 9.3 per cent from 3392 to 3708.

“I'd be bitterly disappointed if we worked our way to the top of (Tata's) 'to do' list. We have been going pretty well. We don't see the change of ownership as a big immediate issue for us,” Blackhall said.

“Tata has a reputation for being non-interventionist.”

His comments were backed by Jaguar Land Rover UK chief financial officer David Smith; who was in Melbourne for the funeral of Australian Geoff Polites, the company's British chief executive.

“Tata has been quite explicit that they want us to run the business,” he said.

However, he did not rule out some Indian ingredients in future Jaguars or Land Rovers.

“One-fifth of our parts are made in other countries and we have sourced from India before and have had components from Tata."

“We have agreements for components for the next three years.”

He said customers were unlikely to be affected.

“I don't think they are as concerned who owns the company as about the product itself.”

Jaguar and Land Rover are part of the Premier Auto Group (PAG) in Sydney with Volvo, which remains owned by Ford.

Could the new ownership effect Jaguars' status?