A senior Tata Motors adviser has warned against questioning the firm’s loyalty to UK manufacturing after reports claimed it was “actively exploring the possibility” of building cars from scratch in India.
Birmingham Post columnist Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya predicted there will be more good news on the horizon and said Mumbai-based Tata’s commitment to UK manufacturing deserved praise.
He said: “They don’t get the credit they deserve. People need to understand why you have to have a plant in China and India – if indeed they are going to, it is not certain yet.
“In an international market it is not like the Common Market, where you can make it here and sell into it.
“If you do that these governments are going to put huge input duty onto it. They are 100 per cent committed to the UK. All the research and development is done here and lots of manufacturing, but some has to be done in other countries.”
A report by Reuters quotes a company source saying the idea of an Indian plant “is being looked into”.
“The (Jaguar) XF and (Land Rover) Freelander the obvious candidates,” said another source with knowledge of the matter.
The British brands, which already assemble two models in India using parts and engines shipped from factories in the UK, will also begin assembling its popular Range Rover Evoque in the country soon, the first source added.
Building cars in India, which has developed into an emerging market export hub for many global carmakers, would allow JLR to skirt high import taxes on luxury cars, which the country’s finance minister proposed raising to 100 per cent from 75 per cent in his budget speech last week.
“Jaguar Land Rover has ambitious plans to expand its manufacturing footprint and increase production in markets outside Britain,” Del Sehmar, a Mumbai-based spokesman for the company, said.
“We continue to examine options to expand our range of locally assembled products,” he said, referring to India.