JCB has been linked with the potential purchase of the troubled car firm Jaguar from the Ford motor company, following an expression of interest by JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford.
Motor industry reports suggest that Ford is considering the sale of all four brands held within its premium automotive group – which includes Aston-Martin, Volvo, Land Rover and Jaguar.
Having bought Jaguar for £1.6bn in 1989, Ford has since sustained heavy losses within the business and was compelled to plough a further £1.2bn into the company last year to keep it afloat.
As Jaguar is a loss-making firm, Ford has been tipped to offer it for sale combined with Land Rover as an incentive.
Land Rover is viewed as a brand with serious profit-making potential – unlike stricken Jaguar.
However, Sir Anthony says he would only be interested in buying Jaguar if it could be separated from Land Rover.
The two brands – which are manufactured in Halewood, Merseyside – share components and an extensive distribution network.
Such a deal could be seen as best for both parties.
Ford would be able to keep the profit-making Land Rover division while Jaguar would become British-owned.
Interestingly, the founder of Jaguar – Sir William Lyons – was a friend of Sir Anthony’s father and was reportedly involved in many aspects of production at Jaguar.
In an official statement, Sir Anthony said, “I have expressed an interest in the purchase of Jaguar because I believe it is a very strong brand with great potential which at this moment I believe is not being realised.
At this time I have nothing further to add”.