EXCLUSIVE: US: Jaguar-Land Rover in profit
The new owners of Jaguar-Land Rover will take control of a business that's turned its balance sheet around by USD1bn in the last twelve months.
Land Rover is understood to have made a profit of around USD1.2bn in 2007 while Jaguar reduced its losses to around USD100m thanks to cost-cutting and concentrating on fewer, more profitable sales.
The numbers are a big improvement over 2006, when the businesses combined lost USD500m.
The turnaround means that the new owners of J-LR, most likely to be Tata Motors of India, will take control of a business that's turned the corner for a sum of around USD3bn.
It also makes the future of a Tata Motors-owned J-LR more secure, by giving the Indian company a solid financial base to make the heavy investments needed to keep the product line filled-up at J-LR.
Making heavy demands on cash investment are the re-skinned XJ, project X351, and new Range Rover.
Land Rover engineers are understood to be rethinking the architectural structure of the new Range Rover, which had been planned to switch to all-aluminium construction.
Weight savings of up to 40% in the body-in-white were expected to transfer into a 200kg reduction of the current car's kerb weight of 2,600kg.
Cost considerations are understood to be forcing engineers to look at a hybrid steel/alloy architecture.
Because new hybrid powertrains are in development, Land Rover believes it can hit CO2 and fuel economy savings without making such big break-throughs in kerb weight savings.