By Dipankar De Sarkar, IANS
London : Senior Tata executives began negotiations with US carmakers Ford Friday as the Indian conglomerate moved a step closer to clinching a deal to buy British marques Jaguar and Land Rover.
The talks, which could run into February, began amid reports that Ford may retain a stake in the business.
The Times newspaper reported Friday that Ford is likely to continue to supply engines and components for the cars – already a key demand of the British Ford workers’ union Unite.
In addition, the paper said, it may want to strike a deal similar to the one it struck with the Gulf-based consortium that bought Aston Martin.
Alongside, a newspaper based in the region that is also home to the Jaguar headquarters and design centre issued an appeal for jobs to stay there, rather than be outsourced.
“Keep Coventry as the home of Jaguar,” the Coventry Telegraph said in an editorial that it described as an “impassionate plea to the company’s potential new owners.”
“Today executives of Tata, the preferred bidder for Jaguar, begin a negotiating process, setting out their vision of how and where the firm should develop and will present a blueprint for its future.
“Jaguar is Coventry. We urge its new owners to make sure it stays that way,” the paper said.
Paying tributes to the skilled workforce that has made Jaguar a global brand, the paper said Jaguar had also “touched the lives of tens of thousands of families in Coventry and Warwickshire.”
But it said its “plea to keep the city at the heart of the company” was based on business logic rather than sentiment or nostalgia.
“The skills and dedication of generations of local workers have contributed to the global success of this prestigious motor company. And researchers and designers at Coventry’s Whitley centre have proved, with the creation of the fantastic new Jaguar XF, that they hold the key to the future,” the Coventry Telegraph added.