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Tatas to launch Jaguar, Land Rover on June 28

By A Special Correspondent
Last updated on: June 18, 2009 10:23 IST
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India's tryst with luxury brands takes a new turn on June 28,when Tata Motors unfurls its marquee brands, the Jaguar and Land Rover, in its home market.

The cars will be launched just weeks before India's first global brand, the ultra-cheap Nano, hits the road in July.

Tata Motors acquired the luxury vehicles from Ford Motor Co for $2.3 billion in March last year. This is the first time globally that Jaguar and Land Rover will debut together.

After Mumbai, the imported cars will drive to Ludhiana and Bengaluru.

The Jaguar will roll out five models including the XJ, XX, and XF. Two models of the Land Rover will available. Tata Motors declined to reveal the first year sales targets for its new offerings. But a senior Tata manager said they will be number a few hundreds.

In the United Kingdom, the Jaguar largely sells four models: Estate, saloon, open-top and coupe. The hot selling Land Rover brands overseas are the Range Rover, Defender, Discovery and Freelander.

JLR will be the first luxury cars from the $83 billion Tata conglomerate although they had a joint venture with Mercedes nearly a decade ago. While the Jaguar gives Tata Motors a toehold in India's premium car segment, the Land Rover completes its SUV range which includes the Sumo.

The JLR launch comes at a time when India's luxury car market has belied the downturn. Global brands like the Rolls Royce, BMW, Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, Maybach and the Bentley have made India their coveted destination in the last couple of years.

Last year, Mercedes announced that it will invest Rs 250 crore (Rs 2.5 billion) to set up its first fully-owned production facility in India. Its first plant in Pune was leased from Tata Motors.

Even as compact cars clog Indian roads and drive over two-thirds of the 1.5 million auto market, the high margin luxury cars are a status symbol amongst India's rich. Ludhiana, for instance, is the Mecca of luxury cars, auto makers say. India now has its very own luxury brands.

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