Tata Motors, India's biggest automaker by revenue, beat analyst estimates with its first quarterly profit gain in a year after buoyant sales at UK luxury unit Jaguar Land Rover due to new models.

Tata Motors, part of the US$100bn Tata conglomerate, has become dependent on its UK unit to prop up profits, Reuters noted. Sales of its Indian made passenger and commercial vehicles have suffered from an environment of high interest rates and fuel prices in an economy growing at its slowest pace in a decade.

Sales of the Nano, dubbed the world's cheapest car, are well below expectations and there has not been redesigned Tata brand passenger vehicle since 2010.

JLR, on the other hand, has been riding on resilient demand, especially in China.

Net profit surged 71% to INR35.42bn ($566m) in the fiscal second quarter ended 30 September from INR20.75bn a year earlier, Tata said. Revenue rose 31% to INR568.82bn.

The mean estimates of 10 analysts were profit of INR25.49bn and revenue of INR539.8bn, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Growth came "despite weak operating environment in the India business which was more than offset by increase in wholesale volumes and richer product and market mix at Jaguar Land Rover," Tata said in a statement.

"Continued slowdown in economic activity, low level of transport freight and infrastructure activity, frequent diesel price increases and tight financing environment, have impacted the [Indian] industry during the quarter," Tata said in the statement.

Tata's domestic operations posted a net loss of INR8.04bn in July-September compared with a year-earlier profit of INR8.67bn. JLR, however, posted a 66% increase in net profit to GBP507m ($814m).

"This year, it will be JLR that will drive Tata Motors," KR Choksey analyst Neha Patel, who expects the domestic business to recover mildly next year as and when the economy begins to pick up, told Reuters.

Auto market intelligence
from just-auto

• Auto component fitment forecasts
• OEM & tier 1 profiles & factory finder
• Analysis of 30+ auto technologies & more