Auto Sector Recovering, But Challenges Ahead Says Tata

New products are to come from Jaguar-LandRover

India's leading vehicle maker Tata Motors, which owns the British luxury carmaker Jaguar LandRover, is seeing signs of recovery in the global auto sector, its chairman Ratan Tata said on August 25.

"We are seeing the first signs of recovery, but we have to work very hard to make it happen," Tata said. "(The Jaguar-LandRover acquisition) was labeled as too ambitious, or too high-priced. I refute this... Tata Motors and Jaguar-LandRover will emerge as lean and cost-effective," he told shareholders at the company's annual meeting.

"We are a global company now, but have to face the challenges," he said.

He said there were some encouraging signs from Jaguar-LandRover, which the company acquired for $2.3 billion in June last year. "There are new products to come," Tata said.

This month, Tata Motors said it had secured 175 million pounds (US$288 million) in additional funding for the luxury brands.

The chairman said that the company needs to cut costs and improve profit margins.

Its first earnings to include Jaguar and Land Rover figures showed a net loss of 25 billion rupees (US$520 million) in the year to the end of March, against a net profit of 21.7 billion rupees in 2007-08.

The company launched the Tata Nano -- the world's cheapest car -- in April this year.

Indian car sales jumped by nearly a third in July -- the country's sixth monthly rise in car sales -- as new model launches and cheaper loans prompted customers to flock to automobile showrooms.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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