Jaguar design chief ‘relaxed’ about Tata takeover

Jaguar design director Ian Callum says he is ‘relaxed’ about its prospective takeover by Indian car manufacturer Tata.

In a report in today’s Financial Times, Callum says that he believes the move will allow the Jaguar and Land Rover brands, currently owned by Ford, to ‘develop unfettered’.

The design team, according to the report, has already shown Jaguar’s new model lines and planned product cycle to Tata, and Callum says that ‘the two national cultures appear to fit together very well’.

Jaguar’s losses, under Ford, are understood to have sunk to $600m (£300m) in the past three years, with sales having plummeted to fewer than 100 000. Ford has owned Jaguar since it bought the brand in 1989 for $1.4bn (£800m).

Tata is already linked to Jaguar, having taken over its steel supplier, the Anglo-Dutch group Corus, in 2006.

Callum’s design strategy, so far, has been to ‘recapture Jaguar’s modernity’ and reintroduce the bold design ethos that made the brand emotive to many. Jaguar last year launched its XF and XK ranges, under Callum, with the hope of reviving the brand.

Tata earlier this month unveiled what is being billed as the world’s cheapest and most affordable car. The Nano, costing just £1275, was apparently inspired by the vast number of less well-off Indian families crowding themselves on to mopeds and scooters for daily transport.

The car, measuring just 3.1m long and 1.5m wide, is to be launched later this year.

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