Buyout firm would cut Jaguar capacity

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The Independent Online

Ripplewood Holdings, the New York buyout giant stalking Land Rover and Jaguar, would return the latter to its roots as a low-volume luxury car maker and seek to increase sales and manufacturing for both marques in emerging markets, with a special focus on China.

If it wins the auction for the two groups, the buyout firm envisages abandoning Ford's original ambition to make Jaguar into a volume luxury car maker. Instead, it would aim to produce between 60,000 and 75,000 cars per year, down from more than 100,000 it can produce at capacity now.

The private equity firm would seek to maintain current production levels at Land Rover.

Thomas Stallkamp, an industrial partner at Ripplewood, said: "The opportunities in the rest of the world, on the Continent and in Asia have been underplayed. There is room to remix some of the sales in those markets that are clearly more favourable in terms of currency and profitability."

The other bidders still vying for the two marques are TPG Capital, One Equity Partners, and India's Tata Motors. Ripplewood has hired Sir Nick Scheele, the former chairman of Jaguar, to lead its bidding team.

The firm has no plans to cut jobs in the UK. "We are very aware of the labour sensitivities in the UK," Mr Stallkamp said.

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