Jaguar and Land Rover plan to beat the global downturn with major sales drives in Tata’s own backyard – by setting up dealership networks in India.

Tata Motors managing director Ravi Kant wants the luxury Midland marques to stave off the credit crisis and carve a niche in the potentially huge and lucrative Indian market.

Land Rover, which has been hit by big UK sales falls over the autumn, is making valuable inroads into export markets in Russia and China, and India is being lined up as another key target area.

Mr Kant said: “Our sales and marketing department has helped facilitate a visit by the senior people from Jaguar and Land Rover. They have come, they have seen and they are putting some plans into action. In the current situation, I would prompt them to be in India sooner than later. Of course, they wouldn’t do a half-baked thing.”

Mr Kant said Tata was well-placed to bounce back from the recession – and had no plans to offload Jaguar and Land Rover despite the financial climate.

Last month Land Rover saw monthly UK sales plunge nearly two-thirds. The Midlands’ best-known manufacturer suffered a fall of more than 64 per cent - after September figures tumbled from 10,000 for 2007 to 5,600 and October dropped by nearly 60 per cent to 1,283 vehicles. But November saw the biggest fall yet, as Land Rover prepares to cut 850 agency staff, with 600 voluntary redundancies sought across JLR.

Jaguar, buoyed by the successful XF launch, saw its performance hold up better for November, with sales falling marginally from 1,096 in November 2007 to 972.