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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 March 2008, 18:42 GMT
Car suppliers urged to compete
Jaguar XK Coupe
Jaguar employs thousands of staff in Coventry and Castle Bromwich
Suppliers to Jaguar and Land Rover must not be complacent if they want to carry on working with their new owners, Birmingham business chiefs have warned.

Car giant Ford has sold its luxury UK- based brands to India's biggest vehicle maker, Tata, for $2.3bn (1.15bn).

Jaguar and Land Rover employ several thousand workers in the West Midlands.

But the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry said Tata would want to deal with suppliers "who can compete with the rest of the world".

The one thing both Jaguar and Land Rover require now is stability where they are allowed to plan for the future
EEF West Midlands

"This means that suppliers to Jaguar and Land Rover, many of whom are located in the West Midlands, will need to develop their products," he added.

"It is no longer good enough to provide the best quality product at the most competitive price. These are now the norm.

"JLR expects leading-edge innovation and research and development to be part of the package. It is here where some suppliers have most to do."

Jaguar has about 10,000 staff in Coventry, Castle Bromwich and Halewood while Land Rover employs about 9,000 in the West Midlands and Warwickshire.

The Land Rover plant in Solihull
Land Rover has remained profitable since Ford bought it

Although Land Rover remains profitable, Ford has never managed to make money from its investment in Jaguar.

A spokesman for EEF West Midlands, the region's largest employers' association, said all workers would be relieved that rumours and speculation about the two firms would now end and called for stability for the brands.

"Reports that Tata group will stick to the existing five year plan to invest in and develop the two businesses will also be welcomed by all," said Ian Smith, EEF's chief executive.

"The one thing both Jaguar and Land Rover require now is stability where they are allowed to plan for the future."

Tata stated it would "endeavour to preserve their heritage"

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