Officially Official: Ford picks Tata as preferred bidder for Jaguar/Land Rover

Previous rumors that Indian automaker Tata was chosen by Ford from among a group of bidders to buy Jaguar and Land Rover have proven to be true, as both Tata and Ford announced earlier today that they have moved into advanced negotiations on the sale of the two British marques.

Although both companies were quick to point out that there are still a number of steps before the deal is finalized, informed insiders have confirmed that the two competing bidders, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd and One Equity Partners LLC, have effectively been rejected in favor of Tata.

Factory workers at Jaguar and Land Rover in England were reportedly informed shortly before the announcement went public. Ford, the biggest seller of automobiles in the UK, reportedly wants the new owner of Jaguar and Land Rover to retain the bulk of their existing 15,300-strong British work force, and Jaguar's principal union has expressed its preference for Tata.

Although Ford needs the cash injection from selling off its subsidiaries, the automaker is anticipated to pursue a similar relationship with Jaguar and Land Rover that it maintains with Aston Martin: continuing to supply components, including engines, even after the divisions are sold off.

Follow the jump to read the official statement from Ford of Europe and PAG chairman Lewis Booth.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]



DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 3, 2008 – The following statement is attributable to Lewis Booth, executive vice president – Ford of Europe and Premier Automotive Group (Chairman – Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo and Ford of Europe):

"Ford is committed to focused negotiations at a more detailed level with Tata Motors concerning the potential sale of the combined Jaguar Land Rover business."

"There is still a considerable amount of work to do, and while no final decision has been made, we will proceed with further substantive discussions with Tata Motors over the forthcoming weeks with a view to securing an agreement that is in the best interests of all parties concerned."

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