Tata Motors on Monday said the sudden exit of its Group CEO and Managing Director Carl-Peter Forster will not impact the future of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), stating that "it would be wrong to credit" the former executive for turning around the British marque.
Reacting to market speculation that Forster's exit, at a time when sales of JLR have not been encouraging, could have an impact on its two brands and their turnaround, a company spokesperson said: "It would be wrong to credit Jaguar Land Rover's turnaround to Carl-Peter Forster."
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He said the turnaround in JLR commenced 24 months ago, while Forster had joined the Tata Motors in February 2010.
After the downturn of 2008-09, JLR made operating profit of Rs 325.27 crore in the quarter ended September 2009 that propelled Tata Motors' consolidated net profit to Rs 21.78 crore, against a loss of Rs 941.75 crore in the same period a year ago.
According to the spokesperson, the turnaround of JLR was "following the successful efforts made by the management team to cut costs and the successful introduction of the new Jaguar XJ and XF sedans".
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"The Jaguar Land Rover business has been following the operating plans put in place after Tatas took over the business," he added.
For the first quarter ended June 30, Tata Motors group posted a net profit of Rs 1,999.62 crore, compared to Rs 1,988.73 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2010.
Reacting to Forster's resignation, whose exit was announced after the market hours last Friday, Tata Motors' scrips have tanked 3.09 per cent on the Bombay Stock Exchange during the afternoon trade to Rs 148 per share.
Market watchers had pointed out that his exit has not come at the right time as JLR sales have been not so encouraging this financial year.
In the April-July period this year, sales of Jaguar Land Rover were 81,209 units, up 6 per cent. During the period, Jaguar sales were down 26 per cent at 15,715 units while that of Land Rover were at 65,494 units, up 18 per cent.
When he joined Tata Motors in February 2010, Forster was given the overall responsibility of Tata Motors operations globally, including Jaguar Land Rover.