PSA Group boss ‘open’ to Jaguar Land Rover acquisition

PSA Group boss Carlos Tavares says that he would consider a merger or acquisition with Jaguar Land Rover – as long as it wouldn’t distract the French firm.

Tavares has been open about looking to expand PSA – which currently comprises Citroën, DS, Peugeot and Vauxhall/Opel – through acquisitions or partnerships with other car firms. Tavares led PSA’s purchase of Vauxhall/Opel from GM in 2017.

In an exclusive interview with Autocar India, Tavares was asked about rumours of interest in Jaguar Land Rover, which is owned by Indian firm Tata Motors. He said that it would be good for PSA to have a luxury brand, and that the company was “considering all opportunities,” adding he would be interested “as long as it’s not a distraction.”

Tavares said that there had been no discussions with Tata Motors about Jaguar Land Rover yet. He also said that “we don’t have a specific target but if there are opportunities, of course, we will consider it.”

Asked further about adding a luxury brand that would sit about DS, Tavares said: “Why not? Why shouldn’t we discuss it? It depends on what kind of value creation we could generate.” 

Jaguar Land Rover has struggled in recent months, hit by falling demand for diesels and the decline of the Chinese market. Recent heavy losses, including an asset writedown, also caused the Tata Group to post a quarterly loss.

Tavares cited PSA’s success in turning around Vauxhall/Opel, which posted its first profit in 20 years recently, suggesting it could have a similar impact on the strugging British firm: “With Opel, we have demonstrated that we can turn around a company that was in the red for 20 years, in 12 months. So this is something we know how to do.” 

Tavares said the group’s current focus was on its ‘Push to Pass’ strategic growth strategy to expand the company’s global presence, including expansion into the US, Russian and Indian markets.

In a statement to Autocar India, Tata Motors said that Jaguar Land Rover was not for sale. A spokesperson said: “There is no truth to the rumours that Tata Motors is looking to divest its stake in JLR.” 

Following Jaguar Land Rover’s 2018 losses, Tata’s boss had previously affirmed its commitment to the company.

The Peugeot family, which owns the largest stake in the PSA Group, recently said it would back future mergers or acquisitions, including with the FCA Group.