08 April 2008
UK firms will continue to supply Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR) following its takeover by the Indian firm Tata Motors.
But suppliers have been warned to remain innovative if they want to secure future business and maintain a long-term relationship with the firm.
Tata bought JLR from Ford last month in a deal worth $2.3 billion (£1.1 billion), but has reassured vendors they will still supply parts for the vehicles.
Jerry Blackett, chief executive of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told SM: "The reassurance is good news and comes direct from our meetings with senior Tata and Ford people. But suppliers shouldn't rest on their laurels. They will have to demonstrate they're ahead of the auto industry's agenda."
He said suppliers should seek sustainable answers to issues such as the environment, particularly with regard to Land Rover.
He added he is keen to organise a meeting between Tata buyers and JLR vendors: "Suppliers have got some strong questions and they will be keen to point out that Tata needs them as much as they need Tata."
Roger Madison, national officer for the automotive industry at union Unite, said car firms are constantly evolving and urged suppliers to progress with them. But he felt the takeover was largely positive for suppliers: "Tata is keen to maintain Jaguar and Land Rover as iconic British brands and keeping the supply in the UK is key to this."
Ford's suppliers will continue to provide vehicle components for JLR for "differing periods". A firm spokesman said more details would follow a second round of discussions with Tata.