"Our intention is to look at these brands as they are. Who owns them is a bit of a transparent issue," he said, "these two brands are very special and whoever gets them has a global responsibility to nurture them. We have a interest in the brands and the cultures behind them, We intend to make them thrive."

Such comments, made by Ratan Tata in an interview with just-auto this week, will come as a great relief to Jaguar and Land Rover's embattled workforce and management contemplating new owners just as the companies are turning the corner with fresh new models and improved financial performance, wrote our man Julian Rendell.

He adds: "Of course, the futures of both are tied to ambitious new model plans, which will at least double the US$2bn or so that Tata is likely to have to pay Ford. Reports from India suggest Tata is already preparing a US$3bn finance package, partly to fund the acquisition, but partly to invest in new models.

"Tata himself certainly seems prepared to commit to JLR's known product plan, which stetches out to 2012 at least: "Capital expenditure is part of the due diligence [of JLR] and it is not a problem in the due diligence."

Meanwhile, our house analyst Rob Golding has run a close eye over Ford's Japanese investment Mazda, concluding that not having a factory here in Europe can help the profit figures.

From Germany came news that unions doubt BMW will get enough people volunteering for the redundancies it needs to make at Dingolfing. Time to up the incentives, then?

Or perhaps a move to America? Good news, this time, for BMW there, as it announced plans to boost output in South Carolina, adding 500 jobs in the process.

Finally, it was not a good week for UK motorists as a new budget, supposedly to encourage us all to drive 'greener' cars is apparently set to hike annual road tax for nine out of 10 owners, according to daily newspaper analysis today. Porsche, meanwhile, is continuing its battle against a massive hike in the London congestion charge.

Enjoy your weekend,

Graeme Roberts
Deputy Editor