India's biggest vehicle company takes the reins from previous owner FordThe fate of Jaguar and Land Rover is decided. The best-known British car brands will soon pass into Indian ownership. Tata Motors, headed by Indian mogul Ratan Tata, is to pay existing owners Ford $2.3bn for the two.

From the customers’ point of view, Tata is promising business as usual: existing head office management will remain and the dealer network will be kept, too along with key models including the just-launched XF (pictured, left). To underline the point, Ratan Tata said he had ‘enormous respect’ for both brands and would ‘endeavour to preserve and build on their heritage and competitiveness.

Ford and Tata have also agreed a lengthy handover. Ford supplies engines, transmissions and other components for Jaguars and Land Rover vehicles and that will continue. Ford will also lend a hand as the two makes continue to develop new models. Chief among these is a new compact off-roader, intended to join the Land Rover line-up as a smaller brother to the Freelander. Ford’s credit division will also continue to provide loans for Land Rover and Jaguar dealers and customers for up to 12 months.

The deal has been likely for some time and Tata was long the front-runner. The company is India’s largest motor manufacturer and made headlines with the launch of the Tata Nano, a tiny city car selling in India for under £2000. The car is unlikely to sell in Europe because it of the trouble it would have meeting our tougher safety standards.