So, Jaguar has finally shuffled out of yet another owner’s overcoat and gained a new master.
I didn’t really have any preconceived ideas about where this takeover would go, and the Indian car company Tata has produced some interesting vehicles since its beginnings in locomotives back in the mid 1940s, been tied in with Mercedes-Benz to move into trucks a few years later, and gone on to grow and gobble up a few other car companies, such as Daewoo, together with some other company ties to let it move into other vehicle market segments.
The finale of the current run of Channel Five’s motoring programme saw one of their (less noteworthy) reporters despatched to the Geneva Motor Show, and after he’d satisfied his childish desire to get some gratuitous shots of the bimbos draping the cars (and show that they knew nothing about them) he started to earn his over-sized pay-check by actually looking at some of the cars on display.
Significantly, he started with the lowest priced car at the show (I seem to recall he said he was going to cover the cost spectrum, but I think his one brain cell got worn out on the way to the most expensive, and the plan was forgotten, or just leaked away). This, not surprisingly, was the Tata Nano, which has been doing the rounds of all the news feeds, notable for its price tag – around £1,500 in UK terms – and the fact that the story always says “But that low price doesn’t really matter, as there are no plans to bring the car to Britain”.
It would appear that the reason is not because of UK legislation regarding car construction and use, but simply because the Nano would probably disintegrate on it way over here.
When the Fifth Gear reporter tried to poke and prod the Nano to see how well made it was, the Tata representative grabbed him and warned him not to touch the car. When he started to ask questions, he got not answers, and when he asked why he couldn’t touch the car (which you can do to most cars at car shows – even the likes of Porsche and Rolls Royce will let the scruff on their stands, under supervison) he got some crazy story about them having to spend all of the previous night repairing the car after someone touched it during the previous day.
When Ford owned Jaguar, the reviewers bemoaned the appearance of the odd knob, switch, button, or stalk from the Ford part bin. What might the future hold for them with their new owner, who has no luxury car parts bin whatsoever to dip into?
Like the Fifth Gear reporter said: