MUMBAI: Tata Motors has set the ball rolling to induct a foreign strategic partner in its India passenger vehicle business by transferring the unit to a wholly owned subsidiary for Rs 9,417 crore. The flagship of the Tata Group is in talks with multiple automakers, including European and East Asian players, to sell up to a 49% stake in its India passenger vehicle business, which accounted for 4% (Rs 10,297 crore) of its turnover in fiscal 2020.
The move comes 12 years after Tata Motors acquired Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) from Ford for $2.3 billion. The deal catapulted the Indian company into the club of the largest automotive players in the world. “The India passenger car business is something that we want to run and hence, we will not hand over majority control of the unit,” said a top official of Tata Motors.
The wholly owned subsidiary, TML Business Analytics Services, will issue fresh shares to Tata Motors towards the Rs 9,417-crore payment. Once the business is separated, Tata Motors will be left with the commercial vehicle business and investments in JLR and other subsidiaries. Tata Motors, which started as Telco in September 1945 with the manufacturing of boilers and locomotives, ventured into commercial vehicles in 1954 and, after more than three decades, got into making passenger cars.
The company has held talks with various Chinese players, including Geely, Changan and Chery. The latter is a partner in JLR’s China play, holding 50% stake in the venture. The deteriorating diplomatic relations between India and China have impacted deal-making, said a source close to the developments.
Tata Motors has also held talks with other players, including France’s PSA group. But with PSA merging with Fiat Chrysler, things have gone slow, the source added. Fiat Chrysler already has a manufacturing joint venture with Tata Motors in India. PSA, on the other hand, is making a re-entry into India with plans to launch its Citroen brand next year.
A couple of years ago, Tata Motors and Volkswagen explored an alliance to develop an economy car. But it didn’t materialise. Whoever comes into TML Business Analytics (to be renamed Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles) is expected to bring a fresh lease of life to the struggling, loss-making passenger car business that also houses the electric vehicle unit. “Partnership is the future of our passenger vehicle business,” said the Tata Motors official quoted earlier.