On paper it looks like a bad deal, but a former Ford boss has revealed the US giant could have gone under if it had not sold Jaguar Land Rover.
The Gaydon car-maker made a profit of £2.5 billion last year - significantly more than the £1.8 billion Tata Motors paid for it in 2007.
However, Sir Nick Scheele - a former president and chief operating officer at Ford and also former chancellor of the University of Warwick - said the dire financial straits at the car giant meant it could not cope with the investment required at JLR.
Sir Nick said: "Had Jaguar Land Rover still been around, it could have turned the ship over. It was a mammoth cash drain, and in the dark times of 2008-09, cash was what was required."
Sir Nick was speaking as Ford president and chief executive Alan Mulally retired after eight years at the helm, having turned the struggling car-maker around.
His views were echoed by Andrew Noakes, senior lecturer in automotive journalism at Coventry University, who told the Post Ford had its hands tied at the time.
He said: "Ford had no choice but to sell Jaguar Land Rover in 2007 because its core brands in the US were losing money.
"Selling Jaguar Land Rover netted Ford over £1 billion - and they earned another £1.5 billion from the sales of Aston Martin and Volvo around the same time.
"That gave them some breathing space while their mainstream brands tried to weather the economic downturn."
When Mr Mulally came to Ford in 2006, the car-maker was in a perilous position and that year went on to post losses of £10 billion.
Since then its fortunes have been turned around and last year it made a profit of £4.2 billion.
Just a year later, in the depths of the recession, Jaguar Land Rover was also facing an uncertain future, with jobs cuts, a two-year wage freeze for workers and suppliers going bust.
Even when things, stabilised the firm was still planning to close one of its three UK plants.
However, it weathered the economic storm and since then it has also enjoyed good fortune, posting profits of £2.5 billion for 2013/14.
When Mr Mulally took over at Ford, he was forced to take action likened to 'pawning the family silver' in order to raise more than £13.5 billion in loans, with Ford mortgaging assets like the Mustang brand name and even the Ford logo.
With US car sales continuing to plummet - down from 16.5 million in 2006, to 10.5 million in 2009 - the loans bought the car-maker time but further action was needed, prompting the swift sale Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo.
The sale of what some saw as the crown jewels in the Ford stable allowed the company to concentrate on its core product.
But Ford's investment in Jaguar Land Rover should not be under-estimated, according to Mr Noakes, who said it was with a some reluctance that it sold the Midland car-maker.
He said: "From Ford's point of view, it was a disaster because they were just about to start seeing the benefits of the massive investment they had made in both Jaguar and Land Rover.
"When Ford executives arrived at Jaguar in the 1980s, they said the production facilities were like something you'd only see on the other side of the Iron Curtain but all that changed in the 1990s.
"Ford also made huge investments in engineering and design facilities at Gaydon and Whitley, and developed an array of new products for both brands."
He added: "Jaguar Land Rover's renaissance over the last few years has happened under Tata ownership but much of it was down to the time and money Ford spent in the years before.
"Cars like the XF, which was really the springboard for Jaguar's rebirth, were engineered during Ford's ownership.
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