Following the recent acquisition of iconic brands Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford, India's Tata Motors is focused on penetrating the European, Chinese, Russian and Indian military markets to increase sales of Land Rover.

''We have plans for the defence sector and are looking for contracts from overseas and from India," said managing director Ravi Kant.

Tata claims to be the world's fifth largest medium and heavy truck maker and the second largest passenger bus manufacturer.

Land Rover's heavy-duty 4x4 Defender is in service with the armed forces in several countries around the world and is designed to meet military standards.

The company has supplied the Indian military with armoured trucks for over five decades, and also showcased the Tata Light Specialty Vehicle, a reconnaissance vehicle, at the Defence Expo earlier this year.

Land Rover sales of 61,421 units during the July-September period were down 11.22% compared to 69,189 units sold in the same period last year, while Jaguar sales were up 17% so far this year.

However total vehicle sales declined to 32,696 in India and overseas last month, compared with 46,947 a year earlier.

The company is also turning to the public to raise loans for the first time in 13 years as the credit crunch limits its ability to refinance the US$3bn loan taken out to buy Jaguar and Land Rover. It is offering as much as 11%interest on three-year deposits.

Kevin Jacobs