Automotive nationalism

Over dinner last night, a German colleague was mocking the fact that Jaguar Land Rover was now in the hands of the Indian Tata Group. I don’t find automotive nationalism any more endearing than the standard kind, especially when it is so misplaced.

Jaguar and Land Rover have been American (under Ford Motors) more recently than they have been British. And what is wrong with Indian stewardship? Any nation that can keep British steam locomotives hauling massive loads on daily services well into their second working century can be trusted to guard and preserve British engineering. The Morris Oxford is India’s favourite car.

Most importantly, the cars that have come out of JLR in the Tata era have been absolutely superb: see the recent relaunch of the Range Rover Sport. So much so, in fact, that my dream garage at the moment consists of a new-model Range Rover Autobiography and an F-Type V8 S (to sit alongside the admittedly not-at-all-British ultragadget that is the Mission R). Even in matching grey, they’d make the German line-up of a Porsche Cayenne and a Mercedes SL look dull.