Ghandi once said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Even he couldn’t have imagined this. On January 3, Tata Motors, Ltd. of India was selected as the preferred bidder to purchase Jaguar and Land Rover, for about a billion pounds. You read that right. Jaguar, the sleek choice of fast-paced British executives, has been around since 1928. And Land Rover? For half a century it’s been the quintessential marque of jolly-good exploration, romance and adventure. Just picture it: The Serengeti. Katmandu. The Outback. India.
And now all that equity is in the hands of the locals. Bloody hell.
How did Tata pull this off? They started in steel in 1945, moved into buses and trucks in the 1950’s, and have risen to be one of the largest vehicle manufacturers in the world. Their mission statement reads that they have a “deep understanding of economic stimuli and customer needs, and the ability to translate them into customer-desired offerings through leading edge R&D.” A case in point: yesterday Tata unveiled the new Tata Nano, which has been dubbed “the people’s car,” because it retails for just $2500. It’s scaring the Shiva out of Detroit, Tokyo and Stuttgart. Not because it can corner like a Jag or handle hills like a Rover, but because at just 100,000 rupees, it’s within reach of every Indian. All billion of them.
The sun set on the British Empire long ago. This morning, it rose over Mumbai