The Tata group's awesome reputation for excellent human resources management was one of the critical factors that helped it clinch the deal with Ford Motor Co for acquiring the Jaguar and Land Rover brands, says a business relations expert.
'The manner in which the Tata group handled the Corus Steel deal in late 2006 created a major positive impression among the unions and the employees at large. Finally, it was one of the key factors that led to a successful completion of the Jaguar and Land Rover deal,' said Chandrika Shah.
Based in Mumbai, Chandrika is country representative in India for The British Midlands that promotes business relations with the region, with seven branches worldwide, including four in the US, and one each in India, Australia and Japan. The Jaguar and Land Rover plants are located in The British Midlands region.
'The Tatas displayed a very deep and mature understanding with the employees of Ford. The Tatas also enjoyed a close relationship with the influential Warwick Manufacturing Group here, headed by Kumar Bhattacharya, long before this deal had been planned which helped,' she added.
More than anything, the unions were very much influenced by the favourable feedback garnered from the unions of Corus Steel and the comfort levels were very high when dealing with Tata.
'There was a great level of psychological acceptability to the whole deal and the way the Tatas handled it, the unions felt that if it should be anybody, then it must be the Tatas.'
The British Midlands also acted as a quiet, behind-the-scenes facilitator to ensure that the Tata deal went through sans bloodshed.
The deal is considered a feather in the cap of The British Midlands and has thrown open a sparkling new chapter in the already flourishing Indo-British relations.
At present, there are more than 35 big and small Indian companies that have invested in the region, including Indian banks.
Though Chandrika could not provide the quantum of investments by Indian companies, she said that so far they have helped create around 1,500 jobs in that region.
The main cities in the picturesque region with a salubrious climate include Birmingham, Nottingham, Leicester, Worcester and Northampton.
She explained the major strengths of The British Midlands are the automotives, aerospace and aviation, components, research and development, information technology (IT), pharma and biotechnology, rail, logistics, financial and business services, environmental technology and foods and beverages.
'I feel that now the higher end of technology could be our prime focus, given India's high levels of technical capabilities. It's time the Indians thought of going global by collaborating with companies in the UK and other places,' Chandrika said.
Some of the top international brands like Jaguar, Land Rover, Toyota and Aston Martin have based their UK headquarters, main vehicle assembly plants and research and development facilities in The British Midlands region.
Also present are Honda's Swindon plant and BMW's mini-plant at Cowley and the Nissan assembly plant at Sunderland.
The region is also home to a thriving niche vehicle sector - many manufacturers of specialist commercial vehicles, low-volume sports cars and leisure vehicle manufacturers can be found in Mumbai.