TATA MOTORS AND VW MAY COMBINE FOR INDIA – financialexpress.com

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Tata Motors and Volkswagen are looking at jointly developing vehicles for the Indian market and are already in advanced stages of talks. The talks may be firmed up at the Geneva Motor Show in the month of March, claims a report by Bloomberg. The report also claims that there is no certainty for the deal to go through and the talks are right now open-ended. While it is a regular practice in today’s age for carmakers to explore synergies in order to lower the rapidly increasing vehicles development costs, this deal is very interesting and possibly has a lot at stake.

An example of such an agreement that helped cut costs for two brands is the Renault and Nissan alliance. To put things in perspective, the Kwid was very well kitted but still, Renault managed to keep the pricing competitive. In fact, the Kwid was responsible for placing the French car maker on the mass-market map in the Indian passenger car market. Similarly, the deal proved immensely beneficial for Nissan in keeping its pricing low and hence Datsun redi-Go too went on to become a best-seller for Nissan.

Why not JLR but Volkswagen?

The first thing to question about this deal is the rationale behind this deal between a global giant and a domestic giant. The answer lies in the problem area for both that turns out to be their passenger car sales in India. While both companies are struggling in the local market for completely different reasons, there’s a lot more to this deal than it seems on the surface. Synergies in this deal point specifically to technology related issues and Tata Motors already owns Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), which is at par with the global competition in the luxury segment. So what is this technology that even JLR doesn’t have access to but Volkswagen does?

The answer lies in the rapidly shortening product lifecycles of vehicles today, primarily due to the influx of smart devices and growing importance of connectivity, which requires constant updates. With Tata Motors struggling with its passenger car division since years, the company now finally seems to get some firm footing to rise. However, a few successful models cannot propel the company’s journey into the horizon. Knowing that, Tata Motors recently announced to cut down its platforms from the present six to just two, one of which will be the Advanced Modular Platform (AMP). JLR operates in the premium space only and hence it’s expertise on modular platforms is restricted to that space only. Plus, the company has never tried making a low-cost car so it has no know-how on the subject at all, which is precisely what Tata Motors needs.

In simple words, modular platforms are flexible platforms, which allow vehicles of various body styles and sizes to made on the same platform, resulting in the critical parts being common. This not only saves a huge amount of money since there are lesser parts to develop, it also allows the company to develop vehicles faster, which is crucial for success today. However, the thing about modular platforms is that they’re complex to design and expensive too. Tata Motors, being one of the youngest companies in the global car scene doesn’t have the required technical know-how for the same.

This is where Volkswagen, one of the masters of making modular platforms comes into the picture. With platforms such as the MQB, Volkswagen is today selling cars with same underpinnings through different brands. So you could end up buying a Skoda, Volkswagen or even an Audi, based on the same platform and with the same engines too. It’s a win-win situation for the consumer and the company as the consumer gets more features and newer models quickly at a lesser price and the company is happy meeting consumer demands on time.

What’s in it for Volkswagen?

So what is in it for a global giant resting on a mountain of technology that filed more than 6,000 patents in 2015 alone? The answer once again lies in the problem area of Volkswagen, which is the absence of a small car. With its cheapest model starting at a price of more than Rs 5.5 lakh, Volkswagen loses out on the largest volume segment in the country. Moreover, there’s not much the company can do since they do not have a platform, which can spawn cars cheap enough to cater to the segment under rs 4 lakh or so. This is where Tata Motors comes in with its experience of making small cars, the jewel in its crown being the Nano, which the world was surprised with. That the Nano never really took off is a different story but from a technical perspective the car was a massive statement from an Indian company and made popular the term ‘frugal manufacturing’.

With Tata and Volkswagen joining hands, the duo may be able to develop a modular platform for low-cost cars and crossovers, that will go a long way in helping both companies improve their sales. Developing such a platform is critical for both companies as both have been struggling for long to achieve their desired goals. The deal is a bit more important for Volkswagen since the world’s largest carmaker commands only about 2 percent of market share in India, a figure the board rooms in Wolfsburg, Germany, won’t be too amused with. Moreover, it doesn’t have a platform for the kind of low-cost cars India demands. The company earlier considered the Up platform for India but later shelved the plan due to it turning out to be too expensive. Developing an entirely new platform will entail massive investments, increasing the risk for a company already grappling with the diesel emission scandal and hefty penalties.

While this tie-up is being discussed, it’s imperative for both companies to go ahead with the larger plan discussed in this story. In present circumstances, though, both companies seem fit to fulfil each other’s requirements. With the market getting more competitive by the day, Tata and Volkswagen need to act quickly in order to make it big in the future. Even if this deal doesn’t go through, both companies will need to ensure they find a similar partner soon enough because the competition is quickly coming to terms with a modular platform-based product roadmap and as history suggests, catching up isn’t always an easy task in the Indian automotive market.

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VALE: BILL PITT

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It’s with a very heavy heart that we pass on the news that one of Jaguar’s greatest racers and devotees, Bill Pitt, died on February 23 at the grand age of 90 years.

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Bill was co-winner of the first 24 Hours race held in Australia (1954) driving one of the first XK120 FHCs built, defeating Peter Whitehead and Tony Gaze in an ex-works C-Type.

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He co-purchased new D-Type XKD526, raced it with great success, and even flipped it onto its back at Albert Park in its second outing.  He was incredibly fortunate to survive that – and without any injury.

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In 1957 he co-drive the Queensland Jaguar distributor’s MkVIII auto saloon in the Mobilgas Around Australia Trial – coming home the first non-VW car and in 7th placing outright.  They also claimed a host of other awards for what he said was his finest competition event.

In 1959 he co-owned and drove one of the potent and rare works prepared 3.4 Litre (Mk1) cars to finish second in the first Australian Touring Car Championship in 1960 (behind another works ‘Mk1’).

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In 1961 he captured the second Australian Touring Car Championship in the ‘Mk1’ beating Bob Jane and a host of other Jaguar entrants.

Bill was the Service Manager for Westco Motors, the Queensland and Northern Territory Jaguar distributors, and carried out a host of other vital roles in the business before going into his own non-motoring enterprise.

Last year we were delighted to take Bill, the Patron of the Jaguar Drivers Club of Queensland, to meet David Bowden who showed him around his incredible collection of historic racing cars.

That includes the first works-built ‘Mk1’ in Australia, the ex-David McKay ‘Grey Pussy’ – when Bill sat in a ‘Mk1’ racing Jaguar for the final time.

He lost his delightful wife Cherry some years ago, but was strongly supported by his daughter and two sons to whom we pass on our deepest sympathies on their loss of a talented but too modest man who loved Jaguars to his core.

RIP, Bill Pitt.  It was an honour to know you.

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EX-JORDAN RODDY XJR-15 BEING OFFERED AT AUD$1,050,000

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We followed the mammoth restoration of Jordan Roddy’s XJR-15, a car he found heavily modified for university testing, in Japan. Twelve months ago we gave it the only road test when our road test editor took it out on closed roads within days of its sale to the Gosford Classic Car Museum.
 
It became our cover car,
 
Now the same car is being offered by the museum for a cool A$1,050,000.
Only four XJR-15s reside in the southern hemisphere, two each in Sydney and Melbourne. Chassis 018 was fully restored by Jordan Roddy’s Bespoke Motors in Moorabbin.
 
This XJR-15 has travelled a mere 710km with only a handful of those completed since the restoration.
 
In concept the XJR-15 was a road-going version of the Le Mans-winning Jaguar XJR-9. It was the first road car to be built completely out of carbon fibre, though its competition focus meant it definitely put the racer in road-racer.
 
Power came from a 6.0-litre V12 producing 336kW/570Nm. That might not seem much by today’s standards, but the XJR-15 weighed just 1050kg, of which almost a third was engine.
 
Jaguar XJR-15 performance was vivid, with 0-60mph (0-97km/h) claimed to take just 3.9 sec and a top speed of 307km/h. Unfortunately, raising the ride height to make it suitable for the road limited the effectiveness of the aerodynamics and led to very lively handling at the limit.
 
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JAGUAR SOON TO REVEAL ITS RED HOT F-PACE SVR – autoevolution.com

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Jaguar is now on its way to introduce its first super-SUV, which will come in the form of the F-Pace SVR. The high-riding velocity tool is no in the final phases of its development and you are now looking at the latest spyshots of the vehicle.
2018 Jaguar F-Type SVR SpiedThe regular F-Pace, is we may call it so, has become the quickest-selling Jaguar in the history of the brand, so it was only natural for the British automaker to bring us a range-topper for the crossover.
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The most power F-Pace to date is the S model, which is animated by a supercharged V6 mill churning out 380 ponies. The SVR badge should receive Jaguar Land Rover’s blown 5.0-liter V8, but the ground clearance-friendly Jag might not get the engine in its most potent form.
 
As such, we could expect the F-Pace SVR to pack under 550 hp. Saying it like that makes it sound like the newcomer will be less than a maniacal machine, but that’s far from the truth.
 
A reasonable expectation would be a 500 hp output, one that will allow the vehicle’s 0 to 60 mph sprint to sit at around four seconds.
 
With the German competition being as sharp as ever, Jaguar needs to make full use of its feline assets. As such, expect to receive an addictive mix involving an aggressive tune that will make the driving experience similar to a wildcat playtime session and a serenity-delivering mood that will surface once the driver decides to step off the gas.
 
Jaguar should gift us with the F-Pace SVR by the end of the year, with the blown SUV set to land as a 2018 model.
 
This is also an excellent opportunity to remind you that, last fall, we saw the sprint-friendly crossover doing its thing on the Nurburgring – check out the clip below for a vivid reminder. Oh, and by the way, we wouldn’t trust that partially-muffled aural experience delivered by the prototype.
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F-PACE CROWNED 'BEST SUV' FLEET WORLD

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The Jaguar F-PACE, the fastest-selling Jaguar ever, has been crowned Fleet World’s ‘Best SUV’ at the annual Fleet World Honours. With an aluminium-intensive construction and ultra-efficient Ingenium engines, the F-PACE was not only praised for being great to drive, but also for its low cost of ownership figures and modern technology.
 
The Jaguar F-PACE has won yet another major award in 2017, having been crowned ‘Best SUV’ at the Fleet World Honours
Fleet World judges praised the F-PACE for its impressive all-round abilities as an engaging drivers’ car, a genuinely practical SUV and a very accomplished fleet proposition.
 
The F-PACE has already picked up more than 30 global awards and is the fastest-selling Jaguar ever, with more than 50,000 sold globally since its April 2016 launch.
 
Recently updated F-PACE boasts an even wider range of engines, including a new 20d 163PS variant boasting CO2 emissions as slow as 126g/km.
 
“The long-awaited F-PACE offers an impressive all-round package, somehow managing to be both an engaging drivers’ car and a genuinely practical SUV. Plentiful use of aluminium to save weight helps both agility and fuel consumption, there’s plenty of room and useful tech inside, and two and four-wheel-drive versions to suit drivers’ needs.”
STEVE MOODY
 
FLEET WORLD PUBLISHER
 
“The honour is the fourth major global award won by the F-PACE this year, and the 31st since it was introduced in 2016. Already in the F-PACE’s trophy cabinet is Auto Express’ Car of the Year title and Women’s World Car of the Year for 2016.
 
“We have been working extremely hard to introduce a range of Jaguar and Land Rover models that are not only very desirable but also make good financial case for the fleet market. Our lightweight, low-emissions models, including the F-PACE, have been hugely successful among fleet and business buyers, and we’re constantly updating the range to ensure we stay ahead of our rivals.”
JON WACKETT
 
FLEET & BUSINESS GENERAL MANAGER, JAGUAR LAND ROVER UK
 
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