TATA’S WAY OF REVENGE – THE TATA TALES

When people throw stones at you, do not throw them back, pick them up & build your empire out of it

Insults usually weigh us down and make us doubt ourselves. But sometimes, they serve a higher purpose by providing the motivation for us to prove ourselves to the world.
In 1999 Ratan Tata and his team faced “humiliation” when they went to sell the group’s passenger car business to Ford, in exactly 9 years the group bought the American giant’s marquee brands Jaguar & Land Rover.

THE HISTORIC DEAL!

Tata Group is a leading business house in India, apart from the scale of business operations, they are also known for values observed in their business practices.
Ratan Tata is another man, who continued this legacy and in 1991 he became the chairman of Tata Group.

In 1998 Tata Group launched it’s first passenger car Tata Indica, this segment was led by Ratan Tata and it was his decision to enter in the passenger car business.

However, it was an ill-timed move and Tata’s passenger car venture seemed to be doomed to failure. Eventually, Tata decided to sell the business, and Ford officials voiced their interest after a trip to Tata’s Bombay HQ. Tata and his associates visited Detroit to hash out a deal, they were in for a rude awakening.

HUMILIATION THAT CAN’T BE FORGIVEN

A Tata Group employee – Pravin Kadle- who was present at the 1999 Economic Times Meetup narrates the whole story.

“We were called to Detroit for discussions and I accompanied the chairman. For nearly three hours, we discussed the sell-off with Ford officials but were meted out humiliating treatment”, said Kadle.

You do not know anything, why did you start the passenger car division at all. We will be doing you a favor by buying this division.

Ford Officials to TATA Group at Detroit in 1999

The Tata group veteran recalled, how the team decided to return to New York the same evening and Ratan Tata was somber throughout the 90-minute flight.

THE SWEET REVENGE

Nine years after the ‘humiliation’, the clock turned a full circle and the salt-to-software conglomerate humbled the mighty Ford — which was on the verge of bankruptcy after the 2008 global financial meltdown by taking over the iconic Jaguar & Land-Rover brands for $2.3 billion which amounted to 9,300 crore Indian Rupees at that time.

You are doing us a big favor by buying JLR.

Ford Chairman Bill Ford Thanked Ratan Tata
TRIUMPH OVER HUMILIATION

As in an article by Forbes, Tata Motors majorly focused on three areas – improving liquidity, cost control, and new products.
Three clear and pointed strategy later worked out well for the company. From 2009 to 2012, Jaguar could barely sell 50,000 units across the world.
Andy Vine, Jaguar & Land Rover dealer in Louisville, Ky., recalled “Ratan Tata was directly involved in the business. Ratan Tata, along with Ralph Speth, traveled across the US meeting dealers and taking the feedback on Jaguar & Land Rover brands.”

PAY OFF TIME

In 2013, the strategy to invest in new products started paying off, with the new F-Type sports cars, XE models, and an entry-level Jaguar. The company clocked 77,000 sales that year.
Jaguar almost tripled the sales in 2017 from 2009. The luxury carmaker sold 178,601 units in 2017 with this the JLR revenue topped by $3 Billion.

“Great people use their anger to plan business policies & goals”, Sir Ratan Sir proved the quote.


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