2013 Land Rover Freelander

Since Tata Motors bought Jaguar Land Rover in 2008, the companies have slowly begun working more closely together on development and production. However, they might be taking another big step because a recent report indicates that Land Rover and Tata may be working together on an SUV project for the Indian market.

According to the Economic Times, the two companies are working to create a five- to seven-passenger SUV based on a modified version of the platform from the Land Rover Freelander, known as the LR2 in other parts of the world. Mechanical development hasn't begun yet, but the project study is about to be concluded. The SUV could be on the road by 2016 or 2017 and would be targeted at a price of 2 to 2.5 million rupees ($33,209 to $41,511).

"The SUV is likely to be 50 to 85 percent different from the existing Freelander, but it will have the genes of a Land Rover with JLR quality," said an unnamed Jaguar Land Rover executive to the Economic Times.

It's even possible that the project could spawn two vehicles. The Tata SUV would be aimed at the mass market in India, while the Land Rover version would be a more premium vehicle. The team behind it claims that sharing large portion of the parts would keep the price of both vehicles down.

This might only be the first step in more joint projects among the automakers. According to a Tata executive speaking to the Times, it and Land Rover may also collaborate on a common engine in the future. With the Indian brand working to elevate its brand's stature in Asia, leaning on JLR for its experience may pay off. We've contacted Land Rover for more details, and we'll update this story when we hear back.