Jaguar, Land Rover Sale News Likely Next Week

UPDATE Ford Motor Co.'s negotiations to sell its Jaguar and Land Rover carmakers to Tata Motors Ltd. of India are proceeding well, a senior Ford executive said Tuesday. [Editor's Note: Inside sources tell us the deal will be announced tomorrow or Thursday]

"We're pleased with the significant progress we are making in our discussions with Tata," Lewis Booth, executive vice president of Ford, told the Merrill Lynch Global Automotive Conference.

"We're leaving Jaguar Land Rover as a solidly profitable business," he said, but added that it was essential for Ford to dispose of the brands and focus on its core North American nameplates.

The U.S. automaker said in a regulatory filing last week that it expected to conclude a sale of Jaguar and Land Rover by the end of the second quarter.

Recent media reports suggested a deal would be announced during the Geneva Auto Show press preview this week.

Last May, Ford sold the Aston Martin brand after announcing plans to dismantle the Premier Automotive Group built up by former Ford CEO Jacques Nasser. However, the Dearborn automaker plans to keep Volvo.

"Volvo is not for sale," Booth told the investor conference held on the sidelines of the Geneva motor show. Jaguar and Land Rover "have more in common with each other than they have with Ford," he said, while most Volvos share parts with Ford vehicles.

02/25/08 A top British union official said Monday the sale of luxury brands Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford Motor Co. to India's Tata Motors Ltd. could be announced March 5 or 6. Dave Osborne, the automotive industry national secretary for the Unite union, said Tata told the union last week it would keep employment in the U.K. around the current level of 15,300.

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