Geely has already bought Lotus and Volvo, invested in Smart, and joined Toyota in partnering with search engine Baidu. Now, if Geely's willing, Jaguar Land Rover could be pencilled into its increasingly full dance card.
Bloomberg reports Jaguar Land Rover’s owner, the Tata Group, has approached Geely’s owner, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, to discuss a partnership. The Indian-owned automaker has also reportedly reached out to BMW.
Geely has released a statement saying there have been no talks with either Tata or JLR. BMW, however, declined to comment.
The German automaker has already agreed to partner with JLR on next-generation electric drive units but its former CEO, Harald Kreuger, said in August there were no plans for an equity investment in JLR.
Tata has made clear it’s not interested in selling JLR. Instead, any partnership they enter is to share costs, particularly in electric vehicle development.
JLR beat its European competition to the electric vehicle market with the I-Pace and it has many more electric vehicles planned, including electric versions of the next-generation Jaguar XJ and Range Rover.
EV development is expensive, however, especially for a relatively small automaker. The softening of EV sales on the Chinese market is also cause for concern, the Chinese government reducing the subsidies available to EV buyers.
JLR’s financial situation has taken a turn for the worse. The company announced it lost £3.6 billion ($6.7 billion) in the financial year ending 31 March 2019, most of that loss attributable to a Tata Motors writing down their investment in the company.
Even before those figures were released, the company revealed it was seeking to find US$3.2 billion (A$4.68 billion) in cost savings by mid-2020. Part of that goal has been achieved through the cutting of thousands of jobs worldwide, though the company has yet to reveal if it fully achieved the goal.
Earlier this year, Tata Motors provided JLR with a $910 million (A$1.3 billion) equity infusion, swatting away rumours it was planning to end its 11-year ownership of the company and sell it to Groupe PSA.
Partnering with a Chinese automaker would be beneficial for the company, though hopefully it would work out better than JLR’s current Chinese partnership with Chery.
Jaguar and Land Rover models built in China via this joint venture have been affected by poor quality control and a spate of recalls, sales tumbling by half last year. Fortunately for JLR, sales have subsequently been on the mend, monthly sales growing by double digits for the past four months.