Archive for July 20th, 2008

Now, Tatas eye one-lakh pound car

July 20, 2008

After unveiling the world’s cheapest car with a price tag of Rs one lakh, Indian auto major Tata Motors is now gearing up to tap the other extreme of the market with new models of its newly acquired luxury brands Jaguar and Land Rover priced in excess of one lakh pounds.

“Jaguar and Land Rover, now owned by India’s Tata group, are drawing up a new business strategy that will take both brands upmarket into the 1,00,000-pound-plus pricing territory currently occupied by only a handful of luxury carmarkets such as Bentley,” a report in the UK daily Financial Times said.

Earlier this year, Tata group unveiled its low-cost car Nano, which is expected to hit the Indian roads in next few months, with a base model price of Rs one lakh. Compared to Nano, the new models envisaged for Jaguar and Land Rover would be over 85-times more expensive at a price of over 1,00,000 pounds (over Rs 85 lakh).

Currently, the most expensive Jaguar model is priced at 80,000 pounds, while majority of its models are priced between 25,000-75,000 pounds. For Land Rover, the most expensive model is priced at 72,000 pounds, the report said.

Tata Motors acquired Jaguar and Land Rover for $2.3 billion in April from the American auto giant Ford Motor.

The Financial Times quoted David Smith, the CEO of Jaguar and Land Rover, as saying that the two brands could be taken “a lot further up the market.”

“Both Jaguar and Land Rover, through the Range Rover brand, should be able to produce very credible products to appeal to people in those markets,” he told the newspaper.

The report said that the cars costing 1,00,000 pounds or more have already proved “a fertile area for Aston Martin – of which Smith is a former director – and Bentley.”

“Bentley sales rose above 10,000 units for the first time last year and Aston Martin expects to cross a similar threshold next year,” the report added.

The daily said that JLR executives see much of the potential market for cars priced above 1,00,000 pounds in China, Middle East, Russia and other fast-developing markets.

“The number of high net worth individuals in these markets is increasing exponentially and they now have the ability and desire to buy such vehicles,” Smith said.

According to the report, in spite of the fuel price and credit crunch-driven downturn in luxury car sales in North America and Europe, Smith expects Jaguar’s global sales this year to remain unchanged at 2007 figure of about 60,000 units, and Land Rover’s at about 2,26,000, driven by robust growth in China and other expanding markets.

“It might be down in the US but in China, the Middle East and Russia it’s booming. While the market is hard, it is not too hard,” Smith said.

Courtesy :- NDTV


IAEA OK with safeguards agreement: Sources

July 20, 2008

A fifty-minute-long closed-door affair in a Vienna hotel was what it took for Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and his team of Indian diplomats to convince the IAEA board members on the merits of the safeguards agreement.

In all, ninety diplomats headed up to listen to India’s case.

A western diplomat told NDTV that the group had many questions but India answered them all. When asked whether it was a good meeting he said ‘yes’. When asked further as to whether he was convinced that it was a good safeguards agreement the answer was again a ‘yes’.

At the lobbying exercise that India undertook with the sixty member countries of the IAEA, things seem to have gone in India’s favour but we have to wait and watch to see what happens on August 1 in the IAEA.

Courtesy :- NDTV