Trade and Investment Minister Lord Digby Jones - who has just won a campaign to be allowed to drive a Jaguar - said Wednesday the British government welcomes the "long-term commitment" shown by Tata Motors in purchasing the Jaguar and Land Rover brands.
"The Tata Group is already a major investor in the United Kingdom, with recent acquisitions including Corus, and in automotive terms Tata Motors has also had its European Technical Centre in the West Midlands for several years," he said in a statement minutes after Ford announced the sale of the iconic brands to Tata Motors for $2.3 billion.
"We welcome their long-term commitment now to developing the Jaguar and Land Rover brands as part of their British businesses," said Jones, who earlier this month won a feisty battle against the government's green lobby to be allowed to be driven in an official Jaguar rather than a low-emission hybrid car.
"These businesses have every reason to face the future with confidence - Land Rover is at record production levels, Jaguar has exciting new products, and both brands are supported by a committed, expert workforcem," Jones said.
"UK Trade and Investment will do everything it can to promote the Jaguar and Land Rover brands around the world," he added.
Jones' comments came amid much speculation in London that Prime Minister Gordon Brown would make a statement on the acquisition by the Tatas during Question Hour in the British parliament.
Although he failed to do so, Jones gave interviews on the deal, speaking to the media all the way from Bangkok, where he is on an official visit.
Meanwhile, the UK-India Business Council (UKIBC) said the deal is an "outstanding example of the UK's open economy" and its ability to attract offshore investment and talent.
"Vodafone's acquisition of Hutch and Tata's previous acquisition of Tetley and more recently Corus are leading examples of this," said Sharon Bamford, chief executive of the UKIBC - the lead organisation supporting the promotion of bilateral trade, business and investment opportunities between the two countries.
UKIBC chairman Lord Karan Bilimoria said the purchase is the latest example of the newfound confidence of Indian companies.
"Less than two months ago, I sat in the new Tata Nano, and I witnessed history in the making. Indian companies are growing more confident in the global economy, and with this deal the country is on the move like never before," he added.
Indo-Asian News Service