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Surely, being part of a much smaller company affords Land Rover employees certain…perks. Other than a company blog (rare for an automaker), it seems the U.K.-based off-road specialists also allow employees like Andrew Polsinelli, general manager of product planning for Land Rover North America to say things that would have been censored in a larger company.
In a blog post entitled: “Terrain Response or Terrain Management — Remember where it was invented,” Polsinelli begins by saying: “Naturally we’re flattered that our friends at Ford are planning to mimic Land Rover’s award-winning Terrain Response system for their upcoming 2011 Ford Explorer…”
Ruh-roh! But wait, there’s more. “You may have seen a new video that’s making the rounds on YouTube where Todd Hoevener, New Explorer Vehicle Dynamics Manager, is extolling the virtues of the Explorer’s new Terrain Management System. We would expect the Explorer’s system will work well; after all, Todd’s boss, Jim Holland, the Chief Engineer, Explorer Platform Program, spent three years working at Land Rover in the U.K. as Chief engineer for Range Rover.”
Zing! And what would a piece of feature marketing be without a subtle game of one-upmanship?
“But while appearing to be similar in concept…to custom-tune the engine and drivetrain to provide maximize traction — it won’t have the six years of sophistication and refinements of Land Rover’s Terrain Response system.”
After the jump is Ford’s official Terrain Management System video:
The acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) by Tata Motors Ltd. from Ford continues to hurt the Indian automaker as the two British brands recorded a combined net loss of $1.11 billion in 2008.
As a sign of the troubled economic times, in 2007 the two automakers managed a total net profit of roughly one billion dollars.
Tata has worked hard to cut costs across the board and has introduced several new models which it hopes will boost sales, especially now that the auto-sector (and the economy) seems poised for recovery. New models include the significantly revised 2010 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport as well as the LR4 (pictured above). And in the Jaguar division JLR recently lunched a new flagship XJ, which leaves behind the traditional Jaguar design for a more broad-based look that the automaker hopes will help it compete with higher-volume German rivals.
In order to keep operations running in the short term Tata is currently working out a loan agreement with the British government, the value of which is reportedly worth around $290 million. The money is all but guaranteed, however, the British government would like a short 6-month term to re-pay the loan, whereas Tata is asking for 12 months. The British government is also seeking a spot on Tata’s board, to ensure its money is being spent wisely.
[Source: Automotive News]