Dave Leggett | 5 February 2008
I wonder how well the nitty-gritty final detailed negotiations between Ford and Tata are going. The press reports last weekend (sounds like Marchionne may have shot his mouth off a bit to the Sunday Times) that Tata might be sharing JLR technology with Fiat provoked a rapid response on Monday morning from Tata, which went out of its way to stress that it has had no technology sharing discussions with Fiat.
Selling something on and then finding that you have inadvertently handed a competitor - a resurgent Fiat - a step-up by the backdoor might not have gone down too well in Dearborn.
But would Tata, new to sports/luxury cars, appreciate the help of a commercial partner such as Fiat - no stranger to sports/luxury segments - as it plots a strategy? And would Fiat want something in return for any assistance it can offer? Not exactly inconceivable that they might get their heads together is it?
Or does Ford want to keep some future influence at JLR via a small stake and therefore more effectively keep others' mits off? There again, Fiat's already right in there, so maybe that's not an attractive scenario for all concerned (and Ford not wanting the distractions and hassle either). Perhaps the best thing is to simply have watertight contracts and supply agreements negotiated on carryovers.
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