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Nasser pledges Land Rover profits by 2002

Ford is planning a radical shake-up of its new Land Rover division after two years of losses under BMW's ownership.

Chairman and chief executive Jac Nasser, who described Land Rover as “one of the world's great brands”, intends to return the operation to profit within two years with the brand becoming part of Ford's Premier Automotive Group (PAG) at the end of the month.

Aston Martin Lagonda chairman Bob Dover has been promoted within the PAG, becoming Land Rover chairman and chief executive,a move that marks his return to the brand after once being manufacturing director.

BMW strongly defended the sale of Land Rover for £1.8bn - £1.2bn upfront and £600m in 2005 - claiming it represented a “win-win” situation for all parties involved.

Chairman Joachim Milberg said it was the “second decisive step in implementing the strategic reorientation of BMW Group”, after offloading Rover Cars.

He believed the “purchase price is a good one” and said BMW could now focus on developing its own range of off-road vehicles on the back of the X5 sports activity vehicle.

Ford acquires the rights to Land Rover brand, which includes Discovery, Defender, Freelander and Range Rover. The deal also involves the Solihull plant near Birmingham, the Gaydon Research and Development Centre, the British Motor Industry Heritage Centre and Land Rover's 13,000-strong workforce.

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