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JLR to launch several sports cars in next two years

Design director Jaguar Iam Cullam (L), Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata (C) and design director Land Rover Gerry Mcgovern (R) pose with the new Land Rover Defender 100 concept car at the 2012 India Auto Expo in New Delhi on January 5, 2012 ©AFP PHOTO/Manan VATSYAYANA

(MUMBAI-AFP) – India’s Tata Motors-owned British luxury brands Jaguar and Land Rover will launch several sports cars and fuel-efficient engines in the next two years, Tata group chairman Ratan Tata said Friday.

Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR) “has undertaken its most ambitious product development program in its history and will launch several new sports sedans and sports cars in the next two years,” Tata said in the company’s annual report for the financial year that ended in March and was released on Friday.

“JLR will also offer cars with new higher-powered, more fuel-efficient engines to meet the customer preferences,” the chairman said in the report.

The company will launch new Range Rover models and competitively-priced Land Rovers, the report said.

Tata Motors, which is also the maker of the Nano, the world’s cheapest car, bought Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford Motor Co in 2008 for $2.3 billion as part of plans to expand its reach beyond Asia.

JLR now accounts a majority of Tata Motors’ profits and revenues and the deal vaulted the Tata group subsidiary from a commercial vehicle and small-car maker into a global player with luxury brands in its range of offerings.

For the full fiscal year ended March, JLR sold a record 314,433 units, a growth of 29 percent, the company said earlier.

JLR said in March it had finalised an agreement with Chery Automobile to manufacture and sell luxury vehicles in China.

For the quarter, Tata Motors, part of the tea-to-steel conglomerate, reported a 136 percent jump in its net profit at 62.34 billion rupees ($1.13 billion), from 26.38 billion rupees at the same time the previous year.

Earnings for the April to June quarter are expected later this month.

India’s market is vital to global automakers from GM to Toyota, which have been steering towards India and China with their billion-plus populations to boost sales and counter sluggish demand in developed nations.

India is the sixth-largest car market globally and is expected to be third behind China and the US by the end of the decade, according to the consulting firm McKinsey.

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